News | 11 September 2018

Anonymous donation sees endangered species return to their natural habitat

Wellington City Council has planted hundreds of rare and threatened plants back in their former habitat on Wellington’s South Coast with the support of the Endangered Species Foundation (ESF).

Image of Phil Wollerman, Endangered Species Foundation Trustee and WCC Coastal Ranger Brian Thomas at Red Rocks
Phil Wollerman & Brian Thomas at Red Rocks

This is the first practical outcome of a new partnership between ESF and the Council that has been made possible by an anonymous donation from a Wellington resident in 2015.

The anonymous donor bequeathed $1 million in 2015 to the Endangered Species Foundation to help protect and support wildlife preservation, and that legacy will live on in the capital says Environment Partnership Leader, Tim Park.

“Our iconic South Coast is habitat for many special native species. It is fantastic that the anonymous gift to the Endangered Species Foundation is helping us keep some of them safe from extinction.”

The ESF supports high-priority conservation projects that protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable indigenous species and habitats from extinction – aiming to save the rarest of the rare according to ERA Ecology Director and Principal Ecologist, Mike Thorsen.

“This is a small step in the right direction to making the future a bit more certain for our most vulnerable indigenous species.”

Some of the plants being planted on Tuesday have been identified by ESF as priority species, and also include the local endemic species of Kowhai – the Cook Strait Kowhai. The kowhai was named after pre-eminent New Zealand botanist Brian Molloy, as both the plant and the botanist are well known to be “as tough as old boots”.

Plants have been grown from locally sourced remnant populations by Council staff at our native plant nurseries at Otari Wilton’s Bush and Berhampore.

Natural Environment portfolio lead Councillor Peter Gilberd says the on-going collaboration with ESF has led to this momentous occasion and should be celebrated.

“It’s great to be working with the Endangered Species Foundation to further the work we are doing in Wellington to restore populations of rare and threatened species.”