Archives For green

By Denice Gillespie, Partnerships Ranger, Kaitaia

This year during Seaweek (1-9 March) a crew from Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium in Auckland released two green turtles back to the sea in the Far North with the support of Te Rarawa Iwi.

These two turtles, named ‘Luke’ and ‘Isla’, were found washed up near Ahipara last year, and were nursed back to health by the Kelly Tarlton’s team.

Locals returning a green turtle to the sea at Ahipara.

A crowd gathered at Ahipara for the release of Luke and Isla

A large crowd gathered on the beach at Ahipara to witness the returning of the turtles back to their natural environment.

Not long after the release Cyclone Lusi hit and we were all hoping that the turtles hadn’t been affected by it. I was getting a little worried.

Green turtle swimming at Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.

Green turtle

Dan Godoy also known as the ‘Turtle Man’ from Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium recently gave me an update on the two turtles. It is good news!

Dan reports that one turtle has just left Parengarenga and is now exploring the waters around Houhora. The other turtle was recorded around Manukau Harbour but has since left and was heading a little further south.

A map tracking one turtle near Houhora in the Far North.

One turtle tracked in the waters around Houhora

So it’s good to see our turtle friends are still cruising the big blue, sharing the turtle love! It’ll be interesting to see what they get up to over winter.

Wendy Jackson provides policy, strategy, and implementation advice for DOC on a number of international conventions relating to wildlife. She attended the recent conference in Thailand on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and reports back.

What do New Zealand green geckos, hammerhead sharks, and Madagascar ebony have in common? Aside from being important to ecosystem functioning and holding cultural value, these species were also recently afforded stronger protection in international law through their listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

A green gecko, hammerhead shark and Madagascar ebony.

Green geckos, hammerhead sharks and Madagascar ebony were considered at the recent CITES conference

The increased protection for New Zealand green geckos (Naultinus spp.) is particularly significant for New Zealand. Over the past few years, these species have been subject to high levels of poaching and smuggling, which have contributed to population declines.

North Cape green gecko.

North Cape green gecko

The proposal for additional protection was submitted to the other 177 CITES member countries last year, and was adopted by consensus last week at a CITES meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand.

These additional protections increase the ability of authorities (in New Zealand and overseas) to conduct enquiries, investigate illegal activities and makes seizures. It will also mean harsher penalties under international law for people found to be illegally trading in geckos. This is a fantastic outcome for New Zealand and especially for our geckos!

Delegates at the recent Conference of the Parties to CITES.

The 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES

More information about the greater protection afforded to the New Zealand Green Gecko can be found on the DOC website.

A full summary of the CITES conference is also available.

At the start of 2009, I knew next to nothing about office greening. Almost 12 months on, as part of DOC’s sustainability team, it’s surprising what I’ve learnt.

I believe that sustainability can, and should, reach into every aspect of DOC’s business. And gradually, sometimes without staff even being aware that it is happening, DOC’s turning a darker shade of green. This departmental greening reaches from the paper we use everyday (now 80% recycled) to the lighting levels in our workplaces; includes foodscraps from people’s lunches ending up fattening the staff pig  or in the office wormfarm, and compostable picnic plates made from potato chip waste being used at community events.

But we are not stopping there. DOC looks after many islands and remote bits of New Zealand. Up until recently power to these places came courtesy of a diesel generator. These noisy, smelly, expensive-to-run machines are now thankfully part of DOC’s past. Solar panels and wind generators are providing silent sustainable power from as far south as Stewart Island to Mimiwhangata in the mid-North.

Powered by the sun – ranger’s house at Mimiwhangata. Photo by Righthouse

Chatham Islanders can now say “Goodbye” to noisy expensive diesel generators and “Hello” to silent sustainable solar power. Photo by Righthouse.

How have we managed to move so far so fast? Sustainability Champions in every DOC office throughout the country are part of the secret. Local folk acting sustainably locally. And their reward? Feeling they are making a difference, acknowledgement and prizes through our bi-annual DOC sustainability awards and the occasional Tradeaid chocolate bar!

But what about the office bike – surely this blog title isn’t serious? Well, yes, it is. Office bicycles are being ridden throughout the country – in Auckland allowing staff to commute between offices and out in rural areas for track inspections.

So, next time you see a DOC ranger on a bike, cheer him or her on. They’re doing their little bit to reduce carbon emissions and keeping fit at the same time – not a bad combo really!

Helen Ough Dealy