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Tui settling down on Miramar peninsula

Tui settling down on Miramar peninsula

A few years ago tui were rare visitors to the Miramar peninsula, and those that did visit were just “passing through”. Now, after two years of intensive possum control, it looks as if the peninsula has become a more attractive spot for tui to settle down and raise their families.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has received confirmed reports of tui nesting – and breeding - in the Massey Memorial area.

“At least two juvenile tui were spotted at the Memorial last week,” said Greater Wellington biosecurity officer, Glen Falconer. “This is the first known instance of tui breeding on the peninsula for many decades. In the past there was nothing to keep tui here, now the improved health of the bush is making it an area where they are comfortable enough to breed, which is very exciting news.”

Greater Wellington’s pest animal team began eradicating possums from the 800-hectare peninsula in February 2003. According to Mr Falconer the programme, jointly funded by Greater Wellington and Wellington City Council, has been very successful.

“By February 2004, no bait had been taken from the 630 bait stations for two months which was an extremely promising sign,” said Mr Falconer. “The airport provides a barrier for re-invading possums and there’s nowhere for the possums to re-colonise from, so there’s a good chance we can keep them out of the peninsula completely. This has improved the overall health of the bush remnant network for birds to immigrate or colonise through.”

Many Miramar peninsula residents have been involved with the possum control programme. “Residents have been extremely patient and helpful throughout the past few years,” said Mr Falconer. “More than 100 landowners have allowed us to treat possums on their land and many residents have kept an eye out for possums, or signs of possums. This co-operation has helped the operation go so well.”

Possums are kept at low levels in key reserves throughout the region as part of Greater Wellington’s Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) programme to protect and enhance native plants and birds.
The KNE programme aims to create safe sanctuaries for native birds to disperse from throughout the Wellington region. Miramar Peninsula is seen as a key link in the corridor from the Rimutuka Ranges to East Harbour Regional Park and across to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

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