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


It takes a community to raise a whio

It takes a community to raise a whio

Today marks the start of Whio Awareness Month, when DOC and Genesis Energy and their community partners celebrate the success of concerted efforts by many parties to improve the prospects for New Zealand’s river rapid-riding blue duck.

Today, whio pairs on 22 key river habitats have risen to just over 600, up from just 250 in 2009. In the same period, the length of river protected from predators has increased from about 600km to nearly 1600km.

Andrew Glaser, DOC Recovery Group Leader for the Whio Forever Programme says that the increase in numbers is due to the combined efforts of predator control and the introduction and growth of captive rearing and breeding programmes.

“This means our rivers are safer for the whio living and breeding on them, and the wild populations are getting a boost to increase the numbers more quickly than could happen if the birds were left to breed without assistance”.

This help comes from many individuals, community groups, charitable trusts and businesses. “We simply couldn’t achieve what we have without the combined effort of everyone”, says Andrew Glaser.

Over the past year, the efforts of captive facilities like Christchurch-based The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust, have added nearly 80 captive-bred whio to wild populations, and a multitude of trapping initiatives have increased the length of rivers protected by over 100km.

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust facility receives whio eggs from four sites around the South Island and incubates them. The Trust also holds a captive breeding pair and incubates eggs from whio pairs held in captivity at the Queenstown Birdlife Park and Willowbank Wildlife Reserve. Once the chicks have hatched they are joined by ducklings hatched and reared at Orana Wildlife Park and released in an aviary where they learn rivercraft and food hunting skills. The aviary has a specially-built white water hazard course. After three months the young whio graduate from this boot camp and are released back into the wild.

In the North Island the captive breeding pairs of whio are held at the Esplanade Aviary, Palmerston North; Pukaka Mount Bruce; Hamilton Zoo; Auckland Zoo; Nga Manu Nature Reserve; Otorohanga Kiwi House; Staglands and Rainbow Springs Nature Park and The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust. Once the ducklings are old enough they are then transferred to the Whio Hardening Centre at the Tongariro National Trout Centre to become accustomed to fast water before being released to the wild.

Andrew Glaser says that getting live ducks into the world is only part of the solution.

“Stoats are a disaster for whio, they kill nesting females, steal eggs and slaughter ducklings. Extensive and intensive predator control is an essential ingredient of success.”

This work is undertaken by a range of dedicated nature lovers – from individual trappers who enjoy helping out in nature, large community groups organising rosters of trap checks, to landscape scale predator control by DOC and other groups. To all those that help – a big whio shout out to you all.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Thompson+ Clark, And Russia’s FIFA World Cup

Daily, the coalition government keeps running into examples of the toxic legacy left behind by National – and just as regularly, even the simple fixes are proving stubbornly difficult to enact. Take the case of the security firm Thompson + Clark, which has been employed – time and again - by state agencies over the past decade, to spy on (and provide security against) ordinary New Zealanders engaged in lawful forms of protest. More>>


HiveMind: Fair Enough? How Should New Zealanders Be Taxed?

Have Your Say! Scoop and PEP invite you to share your issues, ideas and perspectives on the NZ tax system with other New Zealanders using Scoop’s HiveMind tool. This Tax HiveMind is intended to complement and feed into the review being run by the Government-appointed Tax Working Group (TWG), which is looking at the fairness, balance and structure of the tax system with a 10-year time horizon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The GCSB’s Security Hang-Up With Russia

So our GCSB has chimed in, alongside its British, Australian and US allies, with warnings about a “fresh wave” of Russian cyber attacks, although the warning has been curiously framed. More>>


PM's Europe Trip: CHOGM & Bilateral Meetings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in urope for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and meetings with counterparts in Paris and Berlin. More>>


Hit And Run: AG Gives Approval For Inquiry

Attorney-General David Parker has today announced a Government Inquiry will be held into Operation Burnham and related events. The operation undertaken in Tirgiran Valley, Afghanistan, ... More>>


Addressing Climate Change: No New Offshore Exploration Permits

The Coalition Government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. More>>


Road Safety Summit: Actions To Improve Identified

The Local Government Road Safety Summit held last week identified actions that will lead to lasting changes to road safety in New Zealand, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>





Featured InfoPages