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More than 100 scientists have protested to the Government over fears for the future of New Zealand's wilderness and endangered native species due to proposed Department of Conservation job cuts.
An open letter from 107 conservation biologists and scientists from universities and institutes around the country was released to the Minister of Conservation MP Kate Wilkinson today, mid-way through the 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology 2011 being held in Auckland this week.
They say the loss of nearly 100 jobs over the next six months will damage the department's efforts in conservation management and planning, as many species and ecosystems on the edge of extinction.
"We have the expertise to prevent this from happening but the experts require funding, support and job security,'' said the letter.
Signatories, including professors from several universities were also upset that access to mine public conservation land was not considered for public consultation.
The reduction in support and funding for New Zealand conservation undermining the work of passionate staff who have helped save species such as the kakapo, takahe, saddleback and Chatham Island robin from extinction.
"The loss of positions coupled with those who chose to leave an under-resourced and uncertain future within the department is to the detriment of New Zealand Conservation and ultimately to New Zealanders.''
"Recessions come and go: extinction is forever,'' the letter concluded.
To live up to its `100 % Pure New Zealand' slogan the country needs a well-funded Department of Conservation, said the scientists.