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Sanctuary spinoff from discovery of new continent

February 20, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The discovery of a new continent on planet Earth – an event announced late last week – will bring welcome incidental publicity to a sanctuary dedicated to protecting native wildlife from introduced predators.

The new continent is Zealandia, which sits immediately to the east of Australia. Although 94% of the continent is underwater, its two most prominent above-water features are New Zealand and New Caledonia. Scientists have clearly defined it for the first time and say it qualifies as a continent, the world’s eighth and smallest.

Their findings appear in the journal of The Geological Society Of America under the heading: Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent.

Worldwide publicity given to the finding and the continent will do no harm for an existing attraction of the same name: Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected natural area and big tourist attraction in Wellington, New Zealand.

While Australia has immense fences designed to exclude rabbits and dingoes, Zealandia (the sanctuary, not the continent) boasts the world’s first fully predator-proof fence.

The perimeter fence there is 8.6 kilometres in length. Mice are the only introduced animals to have successfully penetrated the New Zealand fence. The sanctuary has inspired many similar projects throughout New Zealand, with predator-proof fences now protecting the biodiversity of other areas of forest.

The discovery of the new continent will put “Zealandia” in people’s minds, which as any advertising guru knows, is no bad thing.

Written by Peter Needham

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