Thursday, November 18, 2010

Local schools support pest control initiatives

Two rural schools are big supporters of Kia Wharite and are actively involved in pest management.

Kaitieke School in the Kaitieke Valley has a current role of 10, the students have their own trap line in a little bush reserve that backs onto the school.
Orautoha School is a rural school of 14 based in the Ruatiti Valley near the Orautoha stream, a tributary of the Manganui o te Ao River. The Orautoha School students also run their own trap line consisting of ten ‘DOC 200’s’ that they check monthly.
Each school is keen to be actively involved in pest control that will enable whio, kiwi and many other native species in the area a better chance of making it to adulthood to breed and increase in numbers.

Both schools are big supporters of Kia Wharite and help to keep their communities informed and up to date on the projects progress through newsletters and involvement in project events. Recently the schools were given some whiteboards for the front of the school highlighting their support to the project so that they could keep a running tally of the pests that they catch and keep their information in a place where parents and friends of the community can see it.

“The boards are a great way for the kids to publicise their efforts in pest control but also to keep the school community informed on what is happening at school” say’s Kaitieke School Principal Debbie Couper.

Top photo; Kaitieke School kids in front of their newly erected boards - Photo Peter Lock
Orautoha school kids checking their traps with Ranger Rufus Bristol - Photo Connie Norgate

Monday, November 1, 2010

Never count your ducklings until you have photo evidence

A brood of 11 whio ducklings had been spotted on a tributary of the Retaruke river this weekend, local landowners have been watching the brood and had a little trouble counting them as they darted in and out of the bubbling stream.

At first glance it was thought that there were only 7 ducklings, but further investigations revealed at least 11 with a clearer photo taken later showing a whopping brood of 12.

This is the time of year that broods are hatching and being introduced to the great outdoors. Born to surf the rapids these ducklings will likely spend the next 8 to 10 weeks in training with their very protective parents gaining survival skills that will see them successfully fledge some time in January.

‘The average number of ducklings in a brood is anything between four and nine. To get a brood of 11 or more is just fantastic” say’s Jim Campbell, DOC Biodiversity Programme Manager
“The test will be seeing how many actually fledge”

The ducklings will go through a gauntlet of dangerous and life threatening events over the next 70 days. Stoats, ferrets, weasels, cats & dogs will be looking to pluck off the weary, floods and freshes will claim a few, and limited food sources and general habitat issues will make reaching the goal of adulthood a difficult task.

Landowners in the area help to protect the whio populations from pests through trapping regimes supported by Kia Wharite. This will hopefully increase the survival rate of the ducklings and in turn the overall whio population.

Photos courtesy of Louisa Frayne

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Four whio ducklings hatch at Pukaha Mount Bruce

Four whio eggs were lifted from a nest recently on the Manganui o te Ao River as part of operation nest egg. The four ducklings will become part of the captive breeding programme to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

After roughly three weeks indoors in a brooder the ducklings will be slowly introduced to an outdoor area with rocks and flowing water similar to the rapids and white water they would normally encounter out in the wild so that they can develop their natural abilities.

Captive Management Ranger at Pukaha Mount Bruce, Raelene Berry say’s “We don’t yet know if they are male or female but are hoping for some females to pair up over the next year or so”

Found only in New Zealand, whio are classified as ‘Nationally Endangered’ because of their unique features. Unlike many other bird species whio cannot be transferred to off shore islands to ensure their viability as they require pristine fast flowing riverine habitat which is generally not found in those environments.

The ongoing survival of whio depends on the work taking place through projects like Kia Wharite for which whio are a focal species.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Welcome to our new blog for the Kia Wharite Project. Follow our progress here!