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October 2, 2017 | by  | in News |
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The Great Kererū Count

The Great Kererū Count (GKC), one of New Zealand’s largest annual citizen-initiated projects, ran from September 22 to October 1.

The project’s goal is to record the number of Kererū across New Zealand, raising awareness of the importance of the green, copper, and white pigeon, and promoting conservation in general.

According to the World Wildlife Federation, a partner of GKC, any person could take part by counting the Kererū in their backyards, schools, reserves, and parks. People could use any device to record Kererū numbers with the iNaturalist app, or by manually adding to the GKC website.

Livia Esterhazy, Chief Officer of NZ World Wildlife Federation, described the initiative, which began in 2012, as “vital, not just for protecting species, but for ensuring the health of our forest ecosystems for future generations.”

The Kererū has an important role in relation to native plants — no other native bird can disperse seeds of native canopy trees such as tawa, taraire, and mataī in the same way.

The Kererū is not a listed endangered species, and is not regularly monitored by the Department of Conservation (DOC); the GKC initiative is thus particularly significant. DOC told Salient that “the role of the Kererū needs to be highlighted,” and that citizen-initiated science is positive to see, necessary for encouraging more people to become involved in conservation.

In 2016’s GKC, there were 5880 observations and 11,990 Kererū counted.

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