DoC announcement expected, amid growing calls to boost funding

Plans to save our threatened species will be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

It's not a Budget announcement, so it likely means no new money for the Department of Conservation, which has seen a funding drop of more than $50 million a year since National came to power.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is expected to unveil a five-year strategy today at Te Papa.

Forest and Bird says DoC needs a major boost of funds to protect the 3000 threatened species, and many will end up extinct if the current underfunding continues.

Chief executive Kevin Hague says the situation is too dire to ignore.

"If the New Zealand economy is to continue to grow, we need to recognise that it's already up against environmental limits, and it has to be dealing from resource use."

Meanwhile, efforts to resurrect vanished species should target those that are recently extinct, a New Zealand conservation biologist says.

Professor Philip Seddon, from Otago University's Department of Zoology, says there should be determined efforts to prevent endangered species from dying out in the first place.

He says the prospect of bringing species back through cutting-edge technology like gene-editing has caught the imagination of scientists and the public alike.

He agrees that idea of resurrecting mammoths might have a "wow factor".

But in an editorial in the journal Functional Ecology, Prof Seddon argues that efforts would be better directed at species where conservation benefits are clearer.

"The ecological niches in which mammoths - or moa for instance - once lived, no longer exist in any meaningful way," he said.

"If we were to bring such species back, apart from just as scientific curios, these animals would likely be inherently maladapted to our modern eco-systems."

Instead, using cloning techniques to re-establish "proxies" of species that have recently become extinct should be the focus, along with trying to ensure the survival of endangered species.

"Extinction of any species marks a significant threshold that, once crossed, cannot be fully reversed, despite the apparent promise of powerful new technologies," Prof Seddon said.

NZN / Newshub.