Felix and his friends were walking through a patch of lush forest. They could hear the chirping of birds belonging to various species. But other than Felix, no one knew where they were.

Awestruck, Orak enquired, “This place is beautiful. It’s so pleasing to hear so many bird species going about their lives. But where are we? Is it the Amazon? Or is it some other dense rainforest?”

“We are in Zealandia. It’s an eco-sanctuary for birds in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand,” said Felix with a smile, “Yes, we are in an urban area! In the 1990s, the situation here was quite different. People could hardly see any birds that once used to be commonplace. These included the tūī or the kākā.

Then, this sanctuary was established in 1999 by Jim Lynch, a conservationist from New Zealand. A conservationist is a person who promotes and acts for the preservation of wildlife and the environment.

Zealandia is 225 hectares of regenerating bush quite close to the city center. It surrounds a lake, winding creeks, and a wetland. It is now home to about 40 bird species! Along with this, tuatara, tuna (native eels), freshwater mussels, frogs, and wētā, a type of giant cricket can also be found here.”

“That is a wonderful development,” said Verum, “How did it happen?”

“Well, restoring native forests in cities brings back native birds. Even those that have been absent for a long, long time,” said Felix, “This has been proven by research published in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

In Zealandia, the number of native birds has increased by 50% since 2011. Some species have a much higher success rate. For example, kākā has increased by 250%, kererū by 186%, and tūī by 121%. The 9-kilometer predator fence definitely played a role!

These bird species have also made an appearance in people’s backyards in the suburbs. People have also become motivated to participate in their preservation!”

“Now, that’s a success story,” said Scorch with admiration.