Whio Awareness Month 2016

Department of Conservation —  01/03/2016

By Robyn Orchard, Communications Advisor

Whio Awareness Month got off to an early start with the release of six blue duck/whio on Mount Taranaki last Friday.

There to do the honours was Minister of Conservation Hon Maggie Barry, local iwi, DOC staff and a group of ‘Whio Ambassador’ students.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry releasing whio.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry releasing whio

This was the first of three releases planned for captive-bred blue ducks over the next 4-6 weeks. The six whio released on Friday were hatched at Isaac Wildlife and Conservation Trust and Orana Park in Christchurch and hardened at the whio hardening facility in Turangi.

Another 12 whio will be released on Thursday on the Manganui o te Ao River in the Whanganui National Park.The final three North Island captive bred whio will be released in the Tongariro area at the beginning of April.

Whio at Mangatepopo in Ruapehu.

Whio at Mangatepopo in Ruapehu

The South Island will see a cluster of whio releases during Whio Awareness Month. Six whio fledglings will be released into the north branch of the Routeburn, five juvenile whio ducks will be released into the Oparara River, and four wild fledglings will be translocated from the Arthur Valley to either Rock Burn or Beans Burn sometime during the month.

About Whio Awareness Month

DOC is once again promoting Whio Awareness Month during March, alongside our Whio Forever partner Genesis Energy. A number of whio-related activities are planned for the month.

The annual Great Whio Adventure competition kicks off today and runs for the whole month. This year there are two prize packages offered, one each for the North and South Island. The prize package gives two adults and two children the chance to have a whio adventure in the wild, including return flights, accommodation and a day out with the whio ranger.

Find A Whio competition winner Olive Paterson and her sister Alice had a great day with the whio rangers in Tongariro. Photo by Sian Moffitt.

Catching and releasing whio during a whio adventure

Help support Whio Awareness Month by promoting the Great Whio Adventure and the family-friendly events to continue educating people about this precious bird.

The annual Whio Family Fun weekend in conjunction with Auckland Zoo, Genesis Energy and DOC will be held this weekend – March 5 – 6.

Taranaki whio rangers Joe and Emma and Genesis Energy’s Eli talking whio to one of the 7000 people who visited the zoo during whio family fun weekend last year. Photo by Bubs Smith.

Whio Family Fun Day at Auckland Zoo

Fiordland whio ranger Andrew ‘Max’ Smart releasing hundreds of blue ducks into the river for the first great blue duck race. Photo by Barry Harcourt.

The Great Fiordland Whio Race

Whio rangers from Opotiki, Tongariro and Whanganui will be talking whio to the more than 7000 people expected at the zoo during the weekend. They will be ‘herding the ducks’ during the annual blue duck race on both days on the stream running through the zoo near the whio enclosure.

The Great Fiordland Whio Race will be held in Fiordland for the second year on March 19th on the Upukeroa River in Te Anau. The inaugural event was very successful and raised more than $600 for local whio conservation. As well as the race there is a BBQ, dress up competition, face painting and a chance to meet the local conservation dogs.

A new ‘Whio Forever’ education resource is now online for teachers on the DOC website.

Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation have partnered together in a five year programme to secure the future of this unique vulnerable native bird. Operating under the name of Whio Forever this partnership is fast tracking implementation of the national Whio Recovery Plan to protect whio and increase public awareness.

The support of Genesis Energy is enabling DOC to double the number of fully secure whio breeding sites throughout the country, boost pest control efforts and enhance productivity and survival for these rare native ducks.

2 responses to Whio Awareness Month 2016

    Nina and Andrew Mercer 01/03/2016 at 6:54 pm

    Check out the Ruahine whio work it’s awesome!


    Love following Neo and Beau on their efforts for the Whio.