Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

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


Four Kākāpō Move To New Home Off Fiordland

Four male kākāpō have been moved to a new offshore home off Fiordland to see if the island can support a larger population.

DOC kākāpō operations manager Deidre Vercoe said the move to Coal Island / Te Puka-Hereka could prove to be key to the kākāpō habitat shortage.

"With a breeding season predicted for 2026, we are looking at new sites to relieve population pressure on the islands that kākāpō currently live on."

While the island is being touted as a future breeding island for the species, DOC said they would not introduce females at this stage due to the presence of one or two stoats on the island.

"Ultimately, we need more predator-free sites to give kākāpō the best chance to thrive.

"In the meantime, with the population increasing each breeding season, we need to investigate other options. The males involved with this transfer are fully grown, weighing between 2-4kg, which we believe to be at low risk of stoat predation.

"This new site trial provides us the chance to understand more about the island and the risk of low stoat density to kākāpō, and maybe open the door to more sites in the future."

There was also an ongoing risk of more predators coming from the mainland, Vercoe said.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"Coal Island's extensive trapping network keeps most predators at bay, but stoats do arrive occasionally."

Coal Island was a key choice because it had a similar habitat and was close to existing breeding islands, Vercoe said.

"The Coal Island Trust has done incredible work over the last couple of decades removing predators to turn the island into a haven for many native species."

Coal Island Trust chairperson Ali King said the kākāpō transfer was one of the highlights in its 20-year history.

"So many trustees and volunteers have worked tirelessly for the past 20 years to help make this day possible - this is a huge milestone in our history and will also have deep significance for our iwi partners."

Ngāi Tahu representative on the Kākāpō recovery group Tāne Davis said Te Puka-Hereka was first investigated as a potential habitat for Kākāpō in 2017.

"Ngāi Tahu acknowledges the important predator control work that has occurred on the island over the past 20 years.

"This mahi gives us hope that this trial will be successful and will extend the available habitat for kākāpō in future."

The move is part of the DOC Kākāpō Recovery Programme's future sites plan.

A separate trial investigating whether kākāpō can thrive in a fenced sanctuary is underway at Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.

The programme has been supported since 2016 by Meridian Energy, which provides funding as well as electrical infrastructure, technology and volunteering support to the programme.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.