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An island where the sweet chirping of birds never stops echoing, Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the most active and significant wildlife sanctuaries in New Zealand. The wildlife conservation island is a predator-free environment that provides for a suitable habitat for about 87 varieties of species of birds, among which 12 are said to be endemic. The island is truly a wildlife wonderland and attracts around 32,000 tourists every year. A 75-minute ferry ride is all it takes to get to the bird’s paradise from the Auckland mainland.
Before this island became the bird’s haven that it is today, it was used as a farmland and was subjected to heavy deforestation. This caused several species of birds and animals to be endangered and the need to save the island from completely dying became more and more evident. It was then when the project to rejuvenate the island was initiated by a group of volunteers (supporters) and many native species of birds were translocated here.
As a part of rejuvenating the island, around 240,000 native shrubs and trees were planted here. Many steps were taken to ensure that the environment was protective enough for the wildlife to thrive and one of them included making the island pest-free. The island is open for all and hosts different groups of people ranging from school kids to photographers to researchers. Apart from native and exotic species of birds and reptiles, the island is home to a historic lighthouse, a gift shop and a visitor centre.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is one of the most successful conservation projects taken up by a non-profit conservation volunteer group and was saved from deforestation. It is located in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand in the North Island, just 30 km north-east from Auckland. If you’re a bird watcher, a bird lover or simply a lover of nature, this island is a day-trip that you don’t want to miss.
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