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NZ media rallies against DOC media permit

Publishing photos like this in mainstream media could could first require the publisher gains a permit from DOC. Photo: Matthew Cattin

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A DOC filming permit has caused a stir amongst the nation’s media outlets, Newsroom reports.

DOC introduced a mainstream media permit in November 2018 which requires media to get permission for filming or photography on public conservation land.

The permit was introduced without consultation with the media, and has gone largely unnoticed and unenforced. 

That changed when NZ Geographic magazine tried to do a story on conservation land in mid October. Told it would need a permit for the magazine’s photographer to take images intended for publication, the story was put in jeopardy.

Forest & Bird’s Megan Hubscher called the permit unconstitutional and said the public have a right to know what’s happening on their own land.

“The media shouldn’t be constrained in reporting important environmental and conservation issues and they certainly shouldn’t have to ask DOC for permission to do so,” she said.

Federated Mountain Clubs president Jan Finlayson thinks the policy will be ignored. 

“Media acquiescence to this bureaucratic nonsense would only validate it,” she said.

Wilderness editor Alistair Hall is concerned about the permit’s implications for the magazine.

“It would totally change the face of Wilderness – what we do and how we do it,” he said.

DOC director of planning, permissions and land Natasha Hayward said the permit ensures the department can manage the impact of the activity on wildlife and protected areas. She has now undertaken to conduct a review of the permitting process. 

Predator control boost for Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park

The Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park will receive a $19 million investment to tackle predators over the next four years. 

The Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges Forest Restoration Project is a partnership between DOC, iwi/hapū, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regional councils, community conservation groups and conservation organisations.

Part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, the project is expected to create 60 jobs. 

“The $19 million in funding and the pest and predator control work it enables will help protect rare species including the Te Aroha stag beetle, kōkako and kiwi along with long tailed bats and precious kauri trees,” former conservation minister Eugenie Sage said.

The initial focus of the project will be to remove rats, stoats and possums through bait stations and trapping, as well as controlling goats.

“It’s important we act now to rebuild the forest, remove pests that damage it, and protect these taonga species. We’ve already lost kākāriki; hihi, whio, weka, tieke and petrel from these areas,” Sage said.

Bear bites woman through tent

Rain on the tent roof is one thing, but a bear? That’s another kettle of fish.

University student Ezra Smith was camping in Montana with a friend when they realised they weren’t alone, Outside reports

At around 3am, the pair were awoken to a collapsed tent and a heavy weight on their legs.

“When I heard the animal’s heavy breathing, I knew immediately that it was a bear. There was so much pressure growing in my left leg, like nothing I’d ever felt before,” Smith said.

The bear, perhaps disturbed by the screaming, moved on, and the women made a hasty exit to their car. It was then that Smith discovered the extent of her injuries.

“Pulling off my pants, I gasped. My entire left leg was swollen, and on my thigh were four perfectly placed punctures,” she said.

A wildlife specialist estimated that the bite wasn’t aggressive, and that the bear probably got caught up in the tent while sniffing around it.

“If it were a real bite, they told me, my leg would have been completely ruined.”

Smith made a full recovery, but said she is still traumatised by the experience.

“I don’t plan to camp again anytime soon – if I do, it’ll be in the desert,” she said.

Traps donated to help Rotorua reserve

Wellington conservation company Goodnature has donated $27,000 worth of trapping equipment to Rotorua Canopy Tours, Stuff reports.

The eco-tour company has been trapping pests at the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, but a downturn in business due to Covid-19 cut resources for the project.

The 700 A24 traps donated by Goodnature reset automatically, and drastically reduce the need for baiting and checking.

“The Goodnature traps basically run themselves for six months, so Goodnature’s donation is a real lifeline to getting the traps in our forest back up and running again,” Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button said.