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


Predator control puts rock wren on the rise

15 December 2017

Predator control puts rock wren on the rise

Rock wren:Credit: Digby Shaw

The reclusive rock wren/tuke is on the rise in Kahurangi National Park due to the Department of Conservation’s predator control programme, recent monitoring confirms.

DOC field staff studying the effects of aerial 1080 operations in Kahurangi this summer have seen the numbers of this tiny alpine bird increase at all monitoring sites.

This comes as DOC winds up its Battle for our Birds large-scale aerial predator control programme for the year with 23 successful 1080 operations over about 440,000 hectares of conservation land as well as 98,000 hectares of ongoing trapping and other ground control work.

DOC scientist Dr Graeme Elliott says the results are very positive for rock wren in predator control areas.

“We’ve just started monitoring for this breeding season but already we’ve seen that rock wren numbers have increased in areas where we used aerial 1080 to suppress rats and stoats to low levels. This is good news for this critically endangered bird.”

“At one site in the Grange Range we’ve seen adult birds increase by more than 300% the last three years.”

“In the area with no predator control, rock wren numbers declined by 90%, until last year when we used aerial 1080 to avoid losing that population.”

DOC’s research has shown similar results for other at-risk species such as kiwi, kea, mohua/yellowhead, bats and native frogs, which is evidence that the targeted predator control programme is working, says Graeme Elliott.

DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme aims to suppress predators such as rats, stoats and possums over large areas of conservation land to protect our most at-risk populations of native birds, bats, lizards, frogs, snails and plants.

The 2017/18 programme will cover about 750,000 hectares when completed next July.

Similar sized programmes were also undertaken in 2014/15 and 2016/17 over about 600,000 hectares and 800,000 hectares, respectively. In each of these years, and this year, there was widespread forest seeding, which caused rodent numbers to increase, risking a stoat plague.

DOC currently undertakes regular pest control over an estimated 23% of forested conservation land.

DOC is developing a new multi-year programme, looking to sustain large-scale control of predators into the future to protect as many high priority forests and populations of vulnerable native species as possible.

This will contribute towards the Predator Free 2050 vision by ensuring our most threatened species and priority habitats are in good health.



DOC media advisor Fiona Oliphant, ph 027 470 1378

Background information

Rock wren live in the South Island alpine environment and were this year split into two sub-species—northern and southern rock wren. The rarer northern rock wren, found in Kahurangi National Park, has the highest threat classification of ‘nationally critical’.

DOC has monitored rock wren in Kahurangi since 2014 to see how this species responds to aerial predator control. Over this time, 58% of monitored rock wren nests produced young after aerial 1080 and 45% the following breeding season. In areas without predator control just 13% of nests were successful. The results show that rock wren raise up to five times as many chicks after 1080 treatment compared to areas with no predator control.

Parts of Kahurangi National Park were treated with aerial 1080 in 2014, 2016 and 2017 in response to rising rodent numbers in those areas.

DOC will publish the results of its rock wren study once data collection is finished next year.

For more information see:




© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Joseph Cederwall: Building a Community Newsroom

The “Scoop 3.0” Transition Plan
There is good reason to believe that a new path and a better future is possible for Scoop in 2019 as a pioneering independent Media company. A combination of new technology, ideas, institutions and business models and a renewed energy and commitment by the Scoop team, means Scoop aims to be at the forefront of the development of this renaissance that we term ‘News 3.0’.

By opening up Scoop’s structure to community ownership and exploring decentralised technology through the blockchain we can ensure the public has a stake in this enterprise and a say in its development. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Jami-Lee Ross (And The New Hobbit Law)

Clearly, Jami-Lee Ross is not waging a normal form of political warfare, with agreed rules of combat and rational cost/benefit calculations.

This is politics-as-terrorism where everything is being sacrificed by the man in the bomb vest in order to remove Simon Bridges as the leader of the National Party. More>>

Text Messages Released: National On $100,000 Donation(s)
The Botany Electorate of the National Party received 8 donations, and Mr Ross declared 8 donations to us. More>>


Film Industry Working Group:

Three Killed: DOC Supporting Family, Colleagues After Helicopter Crash

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is rallying around family and colleagues of the staff who died in a helicopter crash this morning in Wanaka... The helicopter, with two DOC staff on board, was on its way to undertake tahr control in the Haast area when it crashed. More>>


Political Donations: Greens Call For Tighter Anonymity Rules And Public Funding

“It is clear that those vested interests have a tangible influence on the decision making of political parties. This is a threat to democracy and should change.” More>>


Education Amendment Bill Passes: Urgency Sought For Partnership School Treaty Claim

The claim takes issue with the acts and omissions of the Crown in respect of the closure of Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua. More>>


Salvation Army Paper: Call For Public Housing Investment

To meet these future demands the report suggests the government needs to look beyond the private rental market and begin to invest heavily into home-ownership programmes and more public and social housing. More>>


Cull: Himalayan Tahr Control Operation Proceeding

“The target of controlling 10,000 Himalayan tahr over the next eight months remains. The revised plan provides for a staged control operation with increased reporting to the Tahr Liaison Group...” More>>


Health: Petitions To Fund Breast Cancer Drugs

Women marching to Parliament today, to present two petitions calling for Government funding of vital medicines, have 100% support from a coalition representing than 30 breast cancer organisations. More>>


Animal Welfare Advisory Committee: Report On Rodeo Practices Released

The independent committee that advises the Minister responsible for Animal Welfare, has today released a report on animal welfare in rodeos, together with advice to the Minister making recommendations to improve the welfare of the animals in rodeos. More>>





InfoPages News Channels