A block of native forest which is home to threatened native frogs /pepeketua and Coromandel brown kiwi will be preserved after being purchased by the Nature Heritage Fund.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today announced the formal protection of 130 hectares of native forest, at Papa Aroha, 11 kilometres north of Coromandel township.
“The owners offered the Aradia block to the Fund to guarantee it would be protected for future generations,” Eugenie Sage said.
The land is covered by logged kauri forest and tairaire-tawa forest with emerging stands of rata.
New Zealand has only four species of native frog, all of them are listed as threatened or at-risk. Habitat for two species, Hochstetter’s frog and Archey’s frog, will now be permanently protected by the Native Heritaqe Fund purchase of the Aradia block of native forest.
“Archey’s frog is our smallest native frog, growing to only 37mm in length. It’s also one of the world’s oldest frogs. Fossils show its hardly changed in 150 million years.
“Archey’s frog is listed as the world’s most Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibian species by the international EDGE of Existence Programme.
“Living beside streams, Hochstetter's frog is our most aquatic native frog. All our other native frogs live on land in shady moist areas. Hochstetter’s frog is dark brown grows up to 48mm long and is found on the Coromandel, Great Barrier Island and at other sites in the upper North Island.
“The Aradia block is also home to Coromandel brown kiwi, which is genetically different to other brown kiwi. It is the rarest of the four forms of brown kiwi with an estimated population of around 1700.
“Other native birds found at the site include North Island kākā, korimako / bellbird, pied tomtit /miromiro, tūī, kererū, riroriro / grey warbler, pīwakawaka / fantail and New Zealand falcon / kārearea.
“Threatened native fish living in nearby rivers include tuna/ long fin eel, giant kōkopu, and koura freshwater crayfish.
“The good news for this native wildlife and the native forest is that the Department of Conservation (DOC) has controlled introduced predators at the site. The Fund’s purchase will enable this control to continue into the future.”
The Nature Heritage Fund was established in 1990 to help protect the indigenous ecosystems of Aotearoa through direct purchase or covenant on a willing buyer/ willing seller basis. The Aradia purchase cost the Fund $412,000.
To date, more than 343,000 hectares has been approved for protection through the Fund.