Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Kākā monitoring reveals four-fold population increase

Photo by Herb Christophers, DOC

A new round of monitoring in a 20-year programme has shown an impressive four-fold increase in the population of kākā in the North Island’s Pureora Forest.

The Department of Conservation has been monitoring the indigenous forest parrots in Pureora Forest’s 1150ha Waipapa Block for 20 years, with the aim of determining if Department of Conservation (DOC) integrated predator control work correlates to species protection and population growth, says DOC Science Advisor Monitoring Terry Greene.

“What the long-term monitoring has shown is a four-fold increase in the population of kākā at this site – from an estimated 640 birds in 2000, to an estimated 2600 birds in October 2020,” he says.

“This is a very impressive result from our work to protect this species over the past twenty years.”

The North Island kaka found in Pureora are classified as “at risk, recovering”. Although common in New Zealand in pre-European times, by the 1930s they were reduced to localised populations in a small number of areas – including Pureora. Kākā are known for their boisterous morning and evening group socialising, with amusing antics and raucous calling.

The major threat to the kākā is predation by stoats and possums, with hole-nesting female kākā particularly at risk.

Terry Greene says the monitoring work, completed in October, determined population size (estimates of density or abundance) through the point-based distance sampling method. Distance sampling is a widely used methodology for estimating animal density and abundance in a particular area.

“For this work, we visited 130 points on a grid within Waipapa, and people equipped with laser range finders measured the distance to kaka within a 100m radius of each of those points,” Terry Greene says. “Using a mathematical model, we can estimate the population density based on detections from those points.”

The observers who did the monitoring work in the field said it was immediately apparent the kākā were very common in the forest.

“Our observers also noted plenty of other birdlife in the area – a very positive sign our long-term conservation and predator control work is paying off,” Terry Greene says.

“It’s also worth noting the comparison in the time spend monitoring the birds in 2020, compared to previous years. This time, the groups of observers required only five survey days to get the required observations done.

“When these counts were initiated, back in 2000, it would often take almost twice as many survey days to accumulate the required minimum of 80 observations for robust estimation of population density.”

“We’re very pleased with the result as it demonstrates how valuable ongoing conservation work is in protecting native species and rebuilding their populations.”

The Waipapa block has been the site of predator control using aerial 1080 in 2016, as part of DOC’s Tiakina Nga Manu programme (previously Battle For Our Birds). DOC also has ground-based predator control programmes for the Waipapa block.

Te Hau Kainga o Pureora Secretary Frances Hughes says the predator control work over several decades in Pureora has noticeably benefitted the forest’s birdlife.

“We have a beautiful pristine forest, amplified with the loud calls of the Kaka and the beautiful chorus of the Kokako, Tui, Toutouwai, and many, many others, that remind us of our childhood days,” she says.

“Predator control must remain in place, be maintained and developed regularly, to combat the resistance and behavioural patterns of these predators, to totally eradicate them.”

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Grey Power: Is Disappointed To Learn Of More Bank Closures

Many older people are being left without essential services because of cost cutting and the march of modern technology. It is now expected that most banking transactions can occur via the internet or telephone. Jan Pentecost, President of the Grey Power ... More>>


Economy: Supply Chain On Brink Of Overload Says National Road Carriers

The New Zealand supply chain is on the brink of overload and it looks like the upcoming peak imports season may push it over the edge says National Road Carriers Association (NRC) CEO David Aitken. “Worldwide supply chains are in disarray,” says Mr Aitken. ... More>>

Retail: Supermarkets Announced As Government’s Second Market Study

The Government has today launched a market study to ensure New Zealanders are paying a fair price for groceries. More>>


Statistics New Zealand: Retail Sales Recover In The September 2020 Quarter

Retail sales values recorded the largest September quarter rise since the series began in 1995, Stats NZ said today. Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to the strong 7.4 percent ($1.8 billion) rise in total ... More>>

Kea Aerospace: New Zealand Flies Into The Stratosphere

Development has started on a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft that can fly in the stratosphere continuously for months at a time. The zero-emission aircraft will carry a suite of imagery equipment that will be game-changing for many industries, vastly ... More>>

Stats NZ: Births And Deaths: Year Ended September 2020

Births and deaths releases provide statistics on the number of births and deaths registered in New Zealand, and selected fertility and mortality rates. Key facts For the year ended September 2020: 57,753 live births and 32,670 deaths ... More>>


Forest & Bird: Kākāpō Wins Bird Of The Year 2020

The nation has voted and Aotearoa New Zealand has a new Bird of the Year. New Zealand’s moss-colored flightless parrot has climbed to the top-spot for the second time in Forest & Bird’s annual Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau/Bird of the Year competition. ... More>>