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.