Growing whio numbers in the Whirinaki River

Department of Conservation —  27/03/2019 — 4 Comments

March is Whio Awareness Month! Our biodiversity rangers (and Conservation Dogs Beau and Max) kicked off the month with an epic mission in the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park to remove bands from whio in the Whirinaki River.

Georgia Anderson Rewi _ Image 4 - Mithuna Sothieson getting new consrvation dog recruit, Max, familiar with the Whio scent.jpg

Mithuna Sothieson getting new consrvation dog recruit, Max, familiar with the Whio scent. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi

 

Thanks to a combination of trapping and aerial 1080, predator rates are managed and whio numbers are so high banding is no longer needed.

Georgia Anderson Rewi _ Image 3 - Mithuna Sothieson pit tagging Whirinaki Whio.jpg

Mithuna Sothieson pit tagging Whirinaki whio. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi

 

Working their way downstream from Central Whirinaki Hut to Vern’s Camp, the team captured, weighed, removed bands and pit tagged Whirinaki whio.  By the end of the three days the team had counted 76 whio in this section of the Whirinaki river.

Georgia Anderson Rewi - Image 1 - Sarah Wills, Sonny Hape and Jacob De Vries setting up the net and anchors to capture banded Whio.jpg

Sarah Wills, Sonny Hape and Jacob De Vries setting up the net and anchors to capture banded whio. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi

 

The good results can be attributed to the increasing number of adult breeding pairs in  Whirinaki Forest and the support of Genesis, which through ongoing support is enabling us to double the number of whio breeding sites, boost pest control efforts and enhance productivity and survival for these rare native ducks.

Georgia Anderson Rewi _ Image 2 - Andrew Glaser, Sarah Wills and Sonny Hape pit tagging Whirinaki Whio.jpg

Andrew Glaser, Sarah Wills and Sonny Hape pit tagging Whirinaki whio. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi

 

If you want to get a glimpse of these rare ducks, the Whirinaki Forest is one of the best places in the world to see them. Try to get to the river early in the morning or late in the evening when who are most active.

Georgia Anderson Rewi _ Image 6 - Sonny Hape and Jacob De Vries releasing captured whio.jpg

Sonny Hape and Jacob De Vries releasing captured whio. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi

 

Georgia Anderson Rewi _ Image 5 - Andrew Glaser removing bands from Whirinaki Whio.jpg

Andrew Glaser removing bands from Whirinaki whio. 📷: Georgia Anderson Rewi


Genesis has partnered with DOC to save New Zealand’s unique whio/ blue duck. Over ten years from 2011 extra funding and resources is being provided to fully implement the Whio Recovery Plan 2009–2019.

4 responses to Growing whio numbers in the Whirinaki River

  1. 

    The Whio have been monitored during and after each 1080 drop and what was observed was that there were a lot more fledglings surviving and a lot less females taken by stoats in the nest. The whio disappearing prior to 2011 was due to the pest control not being good enough. Due to these facts the trapping was intensified at the end of 2011, thanks to the support of Genesis Whio forever funding, increasing the number of stoat traps to what is called ‘landscape trapping’, the result was good effective pest control that’s allowed the numbers of whio in the Whirinaki to increase through good adult survival and good survival of the juveniles. Long may this continue!

  2. 

    I’m a keen follower of your face book sight and enjoy the content and discussions except the anti 1080ers. Is there any protcols on dealing with these idiots to get them to tone down? Cheers

    • 

      1080 has nothing to do with saving whio in the whirinaki. As far back as 1991 the first blue duck survey showed good numbers on the river . This year at the Whirinaki river bridge well away from any “pest control” a pair successfully raised 6 chicks.
      The worst year for blue duck was 2011 when many pairs disappeared as a result of a previous 1080 operation.
      There is no place for 1080 in the whirinakI. Its a horrible poison, nothing more. I live in Minginui, I have been a DoC biodiversity ranger , I have years of observation to draw my conclusions from.

    • 

      These anti 1080 people are like anti-vaxxers – ignoring all scientific evidence in favour of their ‘observations’ and anecdotes. Great work on saving the Whio people!

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