23 Feb 2024

Critter of the Week

From Afternoons, 3:30 pm on 23 February 2024

If you think cyrogenic freezing is only for science fiction billionaires looking to live forever - think again. Now it's being used to save one of our most endangered trees: the maire tawake or swamp maire, Syzgium maire. This rare tree only grows in swamp forests in warmer parts of Aotearoa.

Maire tawake was already threatened by habitat loss when the deadly plant disease myrtle rust arrived in Aotearoa in 2017. To save the species from extinction, scientists from Ōtari-Wilson's Bush in Wellington have started cyrogenically freezing embryos.

Maire tawake

Maire tawake Photo: supplied