Wetlands are among the world's most threatened habitats and in New Zealand more than 90 per cent of them have been destroyed.
The public is being encouraged to buy a specially commissioned wildlife habitat stamp to mark World Wetlands Day, with funds raised from sales being used to protect New Zealand's fast-disappearing natural habitat.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated around the globe on February 2 to mark the 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands — the Ramsar Convention.
'The stamps are issued every year to raise money to protect, enhance and create wetlands and other wildlife habitat around the country.
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This year's theme is Wetlands and Climate Change, which aims to raise awareness about the continuing drainage of wetlands and spark action to stop the destruction.
Fish and Game is one of New Zealand's major defenders of wetlands and is urging New Zealanders to help protect these vital but fast-diminishing habitats by buying the latest Habitat Trust stamp.
Fish and Game policy manager Robert Sowman oversees the stamp programme which he says has made a valuable contribution to protecting wetlands since the first stamp was released a quarter of a century ago.
"The stamps are issued every year to raise money to protect, enhance and create wetlands and other wildlife habitat around the country," Sowman says.
The stamps are compulsory for all game bird hunters to buy so their hunting licences are valid.
Anyone, including non-hunters, can buy a stamp.
"Any New Zealander supporting conservation and wanting to see wildlife habitat protected can buy a stamp, knowing that the money raised will have a lasting impact.
"Native birds, fish and plants all benefit from habitat stamp sales. Last year alone, we distributed tens of thousands of dollars towards protecting, creating and enhancing habitat, thanks to the revenue we earned from these sales.
"Most of these grants are made to private property owners including farmers, although financial support is also given to big projects, such as Marlborough's Para Wetlands which will be familiar to anyone travelling the road between Blenheim and Picton."
The habitat stamp is produced by NZ Post for Fish & Game and can be bought online at stamps.nzpost.co.nz/shop/other-products/game-bird-habitat-collection