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Don Merton

Fern Davies

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Well known conservationist dies

Published: 6:38PM Sunday April 10, 2011 Source: ONE News

Kakapo - Source: NZPA


Conservationist Don Merton has died in Auckland.


The 72-year-old was well-known for his work with the kakapo recovery programme and in saving the Chatham Island black robin from extinction.

Forest and Bird executive member Peter Maddison says without Merton the unique native New Zealand birds would probably be extinct.


"He was a guru of the conservation movement," said Maddison.


Merton, who was born in Devonport in Auckland but later moved to Gisborne, started work with the then Wildlife Service when he was 18.

He quickly recognised the devastating impact rats and other introduced pests could have on native birds and worked to eradicate pests from many New Zealand offshore islands.


Overseas conservationists recognised his talents and recruited him to help remove pests, especially on islands in the Indian Ocean.

He retired from the Department of Conservation in 2005. Copyright © 2011, Television New Zealand Limited.


[if you haven't read The Black Robin....you should]

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