Stunning image of mallard featured on 30th annual Game Bird Habitat collectors stamp

  • 11/03/2024
  • Richie Cosgrove

Stunning image of mallard featured on 30th annual Game Bird Habitat collectors stamp

A stunning image of a mallard drake in flight captured by a Northland photographer, David Towgood, has been selected as the image for the coveted 2024 Game Bird Habitat collectors’ stamp.

Each year, $5 from every game bird hunting licence goes to the New Zealand Game Bird Habitat Trust (GBHT), which helps fund the development and enhancement of habitat for the benefit of game birds and other wildlife.

The trust recommends to the NZ Fish and Game Council a different game bird image for the stamp each year. The latest, captured by photographer David Towgood of Northland, marks the 31st anniversary since the stamp programme was launched.

Mr Towgood received a $1,000 prize and a $1,000 KiIlwell voucher for the winning image taken at Riponui, North of the Hikurangi swamp.

The stamp is free on request to all licenced hunters and is also available for sale to the public.

Andy Tannock, chair of the Game Bird Habitat Trust, says that since its introduction, the Habitat Stamp programme has raised over $2.5 million for conservation projects on both public and private land.

“Hunters continue to contribute millions of dollars and thousands of volunteer hours to wildlife conservation throughout New Zealand.

The trust’s funding for projects enables about 30 hectares of land a year to be restored or protected, with a particular focus on wetlands.

“The trust is working with wider community interests in implementing wetland management and restoration plans involving large and small projects across New Zealand. This has included major projects like the Para Wetland near Blenheim, Takitakitoa near Dunedin, the JK Donald Wetland on the northeastern edge of Lake Wairarapa and the Underwood Wetland near Dargaville.”

Mr Towgood says he is delighted to win the award.

“I’m honoured to selected as the winner, I’ve been a game bird hunter for over 40 years and really value the work the GBHT does in protecting and restoring wetlands”.

Winner David Towgood and his winning image for 2024

Corina Jordan, chief executive of Fish & Game New Zealand, says the organisation is proud to support the trust and its work.  Regional Fish and Game field staff provide advice to landowners on proposed projects and act as referees for their consideration by the trust, while the National Office of Fish and Game provides administrative support to the trust.

“New Zealand continues to lose wetlands with an estimated only 9 per cent remaining, so the contribution of hunters to the trust and its programmes is critical. The trust plays a key role in Fish & Game’s mission to protect, restore and rewild Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural freshwater habitats and species.”

The GBHT operates as an independent charitable entity. The Minister appoints its board members, who as passionate volunteers provide expert oversight for the grant application process.

Applications for grants towards habitat development or enhancement can be made up until 30 June each year.

For further details and an application form, please visit the GBHT page on the Fish & Game website.

10 March 2024

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