By Lou Sanson, DOC Director-General
Today, the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry, and the Chief Executive of Genesis Energy, Albert Brantley, will open the new whio rearing facility at the Tongariro National Trout Centre near Turangi.
The Whio Forever DOC-Genesis Energy partnership put $40,000 into the centre; the Central North Island Blue Duck Charitable Trust put $10,000 into it; and DOC funded the remainder of what is going to be a major visitor attraction.
Turangi staff started the project at the old trout hatchery facility in March this year and the new facility is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved.
This is an impressive example of a successful partnership in the region, with the Department of Corrections (through prison labour), Taupo for Tomorrow, and Project Tongariro all contributing to the project.
I am actually grateful to the holder of this website who has
shared this fantastic article at at this time.
Went and visited this on saturday, and it is amazing. Not everyday we can get up close to Whio, but six of them was awesome.
Perhaps you could explain why the rearing facility is needed, rather than protection of birds in the wild and their habitat?
The rearing facility is part of the broader programme of work to protect whio in the wild. It’s role is to accelerate the recovery of wild whio populations at sites that now have predator control in place.
Since Genesis Energy sponsored the whio programme in 2011, we have been able to improve predator control at 17 sites where whio are managed in the wild. There is now a much larger area of secure habitat for whio to live in, but many of these sites have very few birds remaining in the wild, meaning that their breeding rate and population recovery will be slow. Captive breeding is the best tactic at this point to accelerate the growth of whio populations at these now secure sites.
Ducklings are raised both from breeding pairs held in captivity, and by taking eggs from the wild to increase the egg hatch rate and duckling survival from wild breeding pairs (WHIONE). All of the ducklings raised are then held briefly in the rearing facility prior to release, as this significantly improves their fitness and ability to survive when released back into the wild.
We expect to use captive breeding as an important tool for whio recovery for the foreseeable future, as more and more wild whio sites have predator control established.
From the National Whio Recovery team
Thanks for the extra info. Great work, and let’s hope we can continue to expand predator control to allow recovery and reintroduction of birds in the wild.
Wow, this is fantastic!