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Kokako Numbers Set To Soar

May 20, 2002

Natural heritage scientists believe the kokako population in the Hunua Ranges is set for a rapid increase following the most successful breeding season since the recovery project began.

The Auckland Regional Council Parks and Heritage Committee recently endorsed the ongoing joint ARC and Department of Conservation management of the Hunua kokako population.

Committee Chairman Bill Burrill says the 10 kokako chicks produced over the summer are the result of seven years of hard work since the programme was begun in 1994.

“The project has been based in a 600 hectare area of the Hunua forest which has been subject to intense pest control as the birds are particularly vulnerable to predators such as possums and rats,” Cr Burrill says.

“Our scientists tell us all the signs are good for a burgeoning population of kokako in years to come.”

“With at least five breeding pairs to begin next season and a higher proportion of younger birds than in previous years, the population is the healthiest it has been since the recovery project began.

“Studies of other recovering kokako populations show that when the population begins to achieve a useful critical mass, the numbers begin to increase very quickly.”

The rare kokako now occurs only in a few mainland forests in the northern North Island and the Hunua population is the only one on the mainland between Northland and South Waikato.

Cr Burrill says all those, from ARC and DoC staff to volunteers, who have contributed to the project should be congratulated.

“The benefits of the pest control extend beyond the kokako population,” he says.

“The forest itself is regenerating beautifully and the North Island robin, which the ARC reintroduced to the Hunuas last year, is also thriving,” he says.

“These results are a credit to all those who have put in the hard work over the last seven years. It’s a tremendous effort which is resulting directly in the recovery of the kokako and other native treasures.”

Ends

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