Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


‘Encouraging’ Blue Duck numbers in inland Hawke’s Bay

‘Encouraging’ Blue Duck numbers in inland Hawke’s Bay

Endangered whio, or Blue Duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos), continue to thrive in the mountainous rivers and streams of inland Hawke’s Bay, according to a survey conducted by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Three years after an initial survey prompted DOC’s Whio Recovery Group (WRG) to classify the catchment areas of the Waiau and Te Hoe rivers as a whio ‘Recovery Site’ a second survey has validated the decision.

The census, conducted in January this year, found 18 breeding pairs along 33km of waterway bordering the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust’s 6,120 hectare Maungataniwha Native Forest, compared to 19 pairs along 41km in 2011.

This equates to a density of 0.54 pairs per kilometre of river, up slightly from 0.46 pairs per kilometre three years ago although the increase is not believed to be statistically significant.

“We surveyed some rivers this year that we didn’t look at in 2011, and vice versa,” said the study’s co-ordinator, DOC biodiversity ranger Helen Jonas. “Some rivers we did more of this year, and some less of. So we can’t make an apples for apples comparison.

“But the advantage of this is that we can say for sure that the encouraging outlook we discovered for whio in this part of New Zealand in 2011 remains the same today.”

This year’s survey found 32 juveniles along the same stretches of water, up slightly from 29 in 2011. This equates to a density of 0.96 juveniles per kilometre of river, up slightly from 0.7.

In 2011 Jonas and her team used a dog to help sniff out the ducks. This year they did not. It is possible that a dog would have turned up more ducks than the human searchers did.

“When it comes to finding whio nothing can beat a pooch,” Jonas said.

The FLR Trust’s work with whio at Maungataniwha is funded by Genesis Energy as part of the Whio Forever project – a five year $2.5 million dollar programme, managed by DOC, which will double the number of secure breeding sites around the country.

The project classifies North Island sites it monitors as either Security Sites or Recovery Sites. The priority Security Sites are whio breeding areas and there are four across the North Island. Recovery Sites receive less funding but often have some form of stoat control, frequently funded and operated by private land owners.

At Maungataniwha whio are benefitting from the extensive predator trapping undertaken by the FLR Trust in support of its Maungataniwha Kiwi Project, one of the most prolific and successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country.

At 0.54 pairs per kilometre the Maungataniwha whio population density is more than double the average density of other Recovery Sites.

Similar whio densities at the FLR Trust’s nearby Pohokura property, and duplicated in informal counts elsewhere at Maungataniwha, indicate that relatively substantial populations are likely to exist across the southern Whirinaki and Te Urewera ranges according to Pete Shaw, FLR trustee and Maungataniwha Native Forest estate manager.

“We’re hoping these results indicate at least a partial plateau in the decline of whio across inland Hawke’s Bay,” Shaw said.

“To get similar numbers from two surveys, conducted three years apart, is immensely encouraging.”

The survey consisted of walking in or alongside rivers and streams, crisscrossing them and, in some cases rafting or tubing them, to look and listen for sign such as faeces and calls. Features such as likely roost areas with protective overhead cover were examined particularly closely.

The FLR Trust’s work with whio at Maungataniwha complements its whio secure breeding project on its

nearby property at Pohokura. In addition to these initiatives and the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project it runs a series of native flora and fauna regeneration projects. These include a drive to increase the wild-grown
opulation of Kakabeak (Clianthus maximus), an extremely rare type of shrub, and the re-establishment of native plants and forest on 4,000 hectares currently, or until recently, under pine.

About the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust was established in 2006 to provide direction and funding for the restoration of threatened species of fauna and flora, and to restore the ngahere mauri (forest lifeforce) in native forests within the Central North Island.

It runs eight main regeneration and restoration projects, involving native New Zealand flora and fauna, on three properties in the central North Island. It also owns a property in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news