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

 

Fears for Waitakere kōkako with rats at record levels

Rat numbers have soared to record winter levels in the Waitakere ranges' largest conservation project and emergency efforts are underway to protect endangered kōkako and other native wildlife.

This season’s rat tracking results, at 32 percent, have edged past those of the previous mast year in 2014, and Forest & Bird warns things are going to get even worse as the weather warms.

"Forest & Bird staff and volunteers have been preparing for this predicted boom in rats but we're still deeply concerned for the native species in the ranges," says Forest & Bird’s Ark in the Park manager Gillian Wadams.

“These numbers are well above the five percent that allows birds to survive and breed, and far higher than the one percent needed for all kōkako chicks to be safe from rats.

“We fear stoat and weasel numbers are much higher than normal too. We’re heading into bird breeding season, so it’s important we get these predators under control now.

“After the last mast in 2014, it took us about a year to get rat numbers down again and we still have not got back to pre-2014 levels.”

“We’re worried about all our species being hit by this upsurge in rats, and kōkako in particular as they are especially vulnerable to rats and stoats,” Miss Wadams says.

Three Forest & Bird staff members and about 400 volunteers carry out intensive predator trapping and rat baiting across the 2270 hectare Ark. Bait is being put out more often and in larger quantities to try to protect native species from booming rat and stoat populations.

Predators also hammer native bats, frogs, geckos and insects and reduce forest regeneration by eating seeds and young plants.

Native trees fruit extremely heavily in an event known as a mast. These events once gave a boost to native birds, but mast years now result in a massive increase in rats and stoats.

Climate change adds to the problem, as masts are becoming more frequent and rats are able to breed all year during mild winters.

“We’re doing everything we can, but mast years seem to more frequent with climate change, so rats, stoats, and possums are an increasing risk to our native wildlife,” says Ms Wadams.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>

ALSO:

Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>

ALSO:

Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>

ALSO:

Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>

ALSO:

Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>

ALSO:

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels