DNA project to help save kakapo gets corporate backing

Science and corporate backing have combined in a new effort to save the endangered, flightless kakapo.

With only 158 of the parrots left, a small group of people are doing their best to keep them alive. Source: Seven Sharp

Kakapo expert Andrew Digby told Seven Sharp 35 chicks have been born this year in the most successful season since the breeding programme began 26 years ago.

Twelve of those chicks had to be hand-reared in Invercargill and now that they're three months old, they're being released on pest-free Anchor Island in Dusky Sound. 

It was thought the kakapo were extinct, but then their rediscovery in the 1970s and a management programme has meant there are now 123 adults, mostly thanks to the Conservation Department's kakapo recovery programme to remove them from predators.

Now, using the latest technology, DNA has been collected from every adult Kakapo, the first time an entire population has been genome sequenced.

"It will help us understand more about disease, which individuals are more susceptible to disease. It'll help us understand more about fertility as well," Mr Digby said.

The work doesn't come cheap and a partnership has been announced between DOC and Meridian Energy, which will provide corporate backing for the genome sequencing to keep the kakapo from becoming extinct.



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Raw video: Dog attacks New Zealand fur seal on Canterbury beach as owner tries desperately to intervene

Warning: Some people may find the vision in the video upsetting

DOC says "the dog in this video is clearly not under effective control". Source: Supplied

The owner of a dog that attacked a New Zealand fur seal on a Canterbury beach this week has come forward to the Department of Conservation after footage of the incident emerged.

The dog, which DOC describes as small and white with ginger markings, was filmed by a member of the public attacking a seal on The Pines Beach in Waimakariri.

DOC has released footage of the attack on the seal which lasted around five minutes before the owner was able to control his dog.

"We realise this footage is distressing but we want people to understand how easily a dog attack on a seal can happen. The consequences are almost always bad for the seal and dogs can be bitten as well," Ms Spencer says.

DOC says that last year three seals were killed by dogs on Christchurch beaches.

"The dog in this video is clearly not under effective control and we’re disappointed this is yet another dog attack on a seal," says Ms Spencer.

Following today’s media attention the dog owner has contacted DOC who will be talking to them about the incident as part of their investigation.

DOC recommends keeping dogs on a leash in areas where there are seals present and keeping a safe distance of at least 20 metres away.

People are asked to call the Christchurch Mahaanui DOC office +64 3 341 9100 or the 24-hour DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) if they have any information about the attack, the dog or its owner.


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Watch: Winston Peters accuses Paula Bennett of asking 'mindless questions' and diving into 'moronic abyss' during Question Time

Winston Peters accused Paula Bennett of asking "mindless questions" and diving into a "moronic abyss" during Question Time today.

His comments came as National's deputy leader was quizzing Mr Peters, who was answering on behalf of the Prime Minister, on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill in the House today.

"Can she confirm that the Labour-led Government unanimously voted for the bill at select committee and the bill has now been prepared for a second reading, and do they know how they will vote for it?" Ms Bennett asked the deputy prime minister.

"On behalf of the prime minister, if that member will not conform to the proper language of an MMP environment we do not intend to answer her mindless questions.

"She knows full well the construction, we can handle it and that's why were here and that's why they're over there, because they just don't grasp what the new environment looks like," Mr Peters answered.

Ms Bennett was then given a warning by Speaker Trevor Mallard for prefacing her follow up by implying that Mr Peters led the Government instead of Ms Ardern.

She went on to try and get more answers about the bill, asking: "Does the govt support the employment relations amendment bill as it is currently written?"

Mr Peters again went on the attack in his answer.

"Look we're not going to have a dive to the moronic abyss that the member wants to go to.

"We are talking about a process of the full committee of the House and then onto the third reading, that's whats being targeted that's what we'll do."
 


Construction worker injured in workplace accident above Auckland's city centre

A construction worker has been injured in an accident on top of a construction site in Auckland’s city centre.

One person was transport to Auckland Hospital in a moderate condition, said St John spokesperson Mark Deoki.

Two fire department vehicles were also sent to the scene, near the intersection of Victoria St West and Graham Street.


St John Ambulance (file picture).
St John Ambulance (file picture). Source: St John.