Covenantors’ conservation projects get funds
Covenantors’ kiwi, kokako and kakariki conservation projects get funds
Landowners will be able to help kiwi, kokako, kakariki and Cook Strait giant weta populations flourish on their properties thanks to a successful funding bid by the QEII National Trust.
The Lotteries Grants Board has granted over $290,000 for conservation projects located on Northland, Bay of Plenty and Marlborough Sounds properties.
The projects will support pest control in North Island brown kiwi habitat at Sandy Bay, carry out research and determine why kokako populations are static in what appears to be favourable habitat conditions at Manawahe, and help increase native bird and insect populations in a special captive breeding programme at Tui Nature Reserve in the Sounds.
National Trust funding co-ordinator Genevieve Bannister says the projects are to be set up in areas owned by National Trust covenantors who have many years of experience in ecological restoration.
Each project has a mix of specialist input and hands-on involvement by the landowners, their neighbours and volunteers.
“Endangered species will now get a helping hand thanks to the funding and the know-how, hard work and passion of these covenantors, our regional representatives and their team of supporters,” Ms Bannister said.
Ellen Plaisier of Tui Nature Reserve says she is thrilled to have their project approved.
Already giant weta from Maud Island have been transferred to the Reserve to breed, and yellow- crowned kakariki have been caught for its “breeding for release” programme.
The offspring of the kakariki will be released into wildlife sanctuaries at the top of the South Island, such as the Janszoon Project in Abel Tasman National Park.
Trust Chief Executive Mike Jebson says without the Lotteries grant most of these projects could not be done.
The National Trust is very pleased to be able to support the projects. It acknowledges the covenantors involved, who will be making a significant personal investment (around a third of the costs), he said.
“I can’t stress enough the generosity of landowners who invest so much of their own time and money into protecting and restoring the natural heritage we all love and enjoy as New Zealanders,” Mr Jebson said.
More than 125,000 ha of natural and cultural heritage is being protected by National Trust covenantors across New Zealand, an area equivalent in size to the combined areas of Aoraki/Mt Cook, Abel Tasman and Egmont/Taranaki national parks.
Contact: Genevieve Bannister, QEII National Trust, 04 474 1688
Sandy Bay kiwi project - NORTHLAND
A three year strategically integrated pest management project targeting mustelid, possum, cat and rat populations within two QEII National Trust covenanted blocks in the Whangaruru Ecological District. The Sandy Bay Kiwi (SBK) project enhances 400 ha of significant natural area within the Sandy Bay catchment, and has become an integral part of several local landscape-scale ecological programmes. This project supports a number of nationally threatened and regionally significant native species including North Island brown kiwi, Apteryx mantelli, pāteke/brown teal, Anas chlorotis “North Island”, and kawaka (an evergreen conifer), Libocedrus plumosa.
The primary aim of SBK is to support and nurture the remnant North Island brown kiwi population by improving the overall ecological health and high biodiversity values of the forest. Forest health, general bird and annual kiwi monitoring is beginning to show positive results as a result of past pest control initiatives. This project continues the work which has being undertaken in the area since 2006. The project controls pest hotspots within the SBK area, focusing on two covenanted blocks of land. Adjoining land, which borders the properties but has no formal protection in place, will also be targeted.
Manawahe kokako project - BAY OF PLENTY
This project aims to determine what factors are causing the Manawahe kokako population to stagnate in what appear to be favourable habitat conditions and despite considerable pest control effort over the last 10 years.
This will be done by:
• forming a management team of local and external experts and community members
• introducing specific management designed to confirm nesting and fledging success
• electronically monitoring some nests to identify possible predators and gain experience in this rapidly advancing field
• reinforcing existing pest control network in conjunction with Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC), and
• increasing rodent monitoring effort during the Kokako breeding season (with support from BOPRC).
The project will utilise local volunteers, Manawahe Kokako Trust members and landowners who have a significant history with the area, relevant work experience and a passion for the future of the indigenous biodiversity of the Manawahe ecological corridor.
This process will ensure all interested parties are actively involved, indicate whether kokako are actually capable of successful breeding in the area and hopefully identify any currently unmanaged predator threats to the existing population.
Tui nature reserve captive breeding programme project – MARLBOROUGH SOUNDS
This project aims to further the restoration of native birds in the upper South Island through a captive breeding programme at the Tui Nature Reserve, a 42 ha mature and regenerating native bush, located in the Marlborough Sounds. The forest is protected by a QEII National Trust covenant which ensures that this special natural area is protected in perpetuity for the benefit of all New Zealanders. As part of a peninsula with no road access, the Reserve owners aim to become one of New Zealand's few 'mainland island’ sanctuaries.
The breeding programme will work with two species: yellow-crowned kakariki (Conservation status: Near to threatened) and Cook Strait giant weta (Conservation status: Vulnerable) which will be reared in captivity in a Department of Conservation (DOC) approved facility, the progeny of which will then be made available for release by conservation groups onto DOC approved lands. This means stock doesn’t have to be caught from the wild and ensures that the released individuals are disease free. Furthermore this captive breeding programme will be built into the educational experience for visitors to Tui Nature Reserve and is an excellent opportunity to improve public education and awareness of issues affecting New Zealand’s native flora and fauna.