Monday, April 7, 2014

April update

Whio release

Children from Orautoha School, Te Kura Kaupapa o Ngati Rangi and local land owners released 12 whio onto the Manganui o te Ao River at Ruatiti Domain in late March. About 40 people gathered to watch them being set free.

The birds were raised in captivity at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, Orana Wildlife Park and Peacock Springs Wildlife Park from eggs taken locally.

Trapping results

Between July 2013 and February 2014 DOC and Horizon Regional Council trappers have serviced 1436 traps.

Catch results

Manganui o te Ao River
Retaruke River

In addition, there are some extra traps in the Manganui o te Ao River, which were set up last year to try to widen the trap network. These were DOC 250 traps, used to target ferrets - they have not made any kills so far.

Whio monitoring

DOC staff conducted six surveys for whio in the core ‘Security Site’ rivers between August and February. On the Manganui o te Ao River 22 pairs and seven single birds were recorded and 15 pairs and ten single birds were recorded on the Retaruke River.

The large floods in October and smaller floods throughout late spring have meant that sadly, no ducklings have fledged in the core river stretches that we monitor. It is possible that some pairs may have retreated up side streams to try for a second brood. Up to seven ducklings were reported early in the season in the wider trapped area; however it is likely these birds did not survive flood waters as they were too young to survive.

Plans for 2014

  • Roll out cat traps in the Manganui o te Ao to target another key whio predator
  • Review trap locations to see if improvements can be made.
  • Strategic thinking about trap locations and efficiency in the Retaruke has led to the removal of some peripheral trap lines. These are at locations which we do not believe are critical to protect whio in the ‘national Whio Security Site’. We understand that these traps are on private land and may benefit other wildlife or whio outside the Security Site. If landowners wish to contact us regarding the continuation of their private trapping system DOC and Horizons are happy to discuss this and look for ways to support it.
  • Horizons are currently exploring the option of using bait stations on private land to help control predators. This is a trial scenario and will be evaluated for success at the completion of the trial period. We may decide to intensify trapping instead.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Increase in bird life

Local's who travel along the Whanganui Awa have told the Department of Conservation that they have noticed a huge increase in bird life and bird song over the last 5-6 years. This is fantastic news and is anecdotal evidence for the continued improvements in the health of the ecosystem. We have demonstrated that we are getting a good knock down of rats and a great suppression of mustelids through the Kia Wharite project. The birds should be getting at least 1 season of increased breeding success and maybe 2 out of every 3 years with the current 1080 cycle.

     Tui                                                Kereru                                            Bellbird

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Protecting kiwi when setting possum traps

Possum trapping increases during winter and with the season fast approaching it is timely to remind people that possum traps can endanger kiwi if they are not used correctly. Our area has a prevalence of kiwi and we need to keep them safe.

These images below are of a local female kiwi bird that was caught in a ‘leg hold’ trap set on the ground and had to be euthanized.  She had been a very healthy specimen.

These types of injuries happen strictly when ‘leg hold’ traps are set on the ground. Most leg injuries will mean that the kiwi will have to be euthanized.

‘Leg hold’ traps are used by conservation organisations and private individuals for the ground control of possums or for the collection of possum fur. Conservation staff use simple methods that protect kiwi from the traps and strongly encourage private trappers to also follow these two simple methods:

1. Raise the trap above the ground
You can help protect kiwi in our region by raising the trap off the ground by 35cm. This will prevent kiwi from walking over a trap and being caught.  This will not impact on the efficiency of the trap as possums will still reach up and get caught in the trap. To raise the trap you can either use two nails to attach trap to a tree or use wooden boards to sit the trap on top of. In other regions where weka are present we advice raising traps to 70cm.

2. Use ONLY legal traps and check regularly
Some traps (including the commonly known ‘gin traps) are illegal following amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (1999). It is also an offence under the Act to set traps within 150 metres of any dwelling or to leave traps uninspected for more than 12 hours after sunrise on each day the trap remains set.

These traps are illegal to use
Lanes Ace (commonly known as Gin trap).                           Double-coil spring size 11\2 unpadded.

To protect kiwi from injury please ensure that you take these simple steps. For more information please contact your local Department of Conservation office.