Archives For endangered

Threatened species, like the critically threatened herb Chenopodium detestans, are about to get improved profile with the establishment of a new Threatened Species Ambassador role.

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New Zealand’s red mistletoe, Peraxilla tetrapetala, one of nine mistletoe species native to New Zealand.

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A beautiful photo of a New Zealand fairy tern to mark the start of the all-important breeding season for this endangered seabird.

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If you’re out in the bush this spring, look out for one of our most striking native plants, the critically endangered ngutukākā/kakabeak.

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For the first time ever, you can watch kākāpō nesting activity streaming live from remote Whenua Hou/Codfish Island.

Our photo of the week shows foster mother Esperance caring for a chick but, if you head over to the Kākāpō Recovery website, you can see streaming real time footage of the pair.

Kakapo foster mother Esperance caring for a chick on remote Whenua Hou / Codfish Island.

Nestcam footage will stream 24 hours a day, however the activity will occur during the New Zealand night time, because kākāpō are nocturnal parrots.

A big shout out to:

Telecom NZ who supplied most of the technology:

“Because so much of the recovery programme takes place in the wild, on remote and protected islands, kākāpō nesting has to-date been limited to a very small audience. We’re delighted to have the connectivity in this remote location, and to contribute the technology needed to enable this precious event to be shared live with the world,” Andrew Pirie, Telecom General Manager Corporate Relations.

New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd (NZAS) as major sponsor of Kākāpō Recovery NZAS has contributed significant financial support, while its employees assist with operational support.

“Our staff at NZAS have loved working in partnership with the Recovery team during the past 24 years, helping out on the island with maintenance, supplementary feedout and nest minding. It’s great that the team can now share part of that special kākāpō experience with the rest of New Zealand,” NZAS general manager Gretta Stephens.

Forest and Bird who administer the trust account that external donations and sponsorship money are made to. This ensures supporters can be sure all financial contributions to the programme go directly to Kākāpō Recovery.

By Amy Brasch

Last month, Mitre 10 MEGA Petone teamed up with DOC to host the first annual “Ladies for Takahē” night. With over 400 ladies present, the evening was a lot of fun, and helped raise money and awareness for the DOC Takahē Recovery Programme.

Ladies flocked to the store after-hours to visit various themed booths, including: takahē conservation information, DIY demos, gardening tips, pin-the-beak on the takahē, a mini manicure station, a chocolate fondue and cheese tasting booth, forklift driving lessons, paintball activities, a sausage sizzle and more.

The wild critters at Mitre 10 Mega Petone.

Wild critters at Mitre 10 Mega Petone.

Tark the takahē striking a pose.

Tark the takahē striking a pose

Tark the takahē particularly enjoyed meeting Levi. However, he waddled as fast as possible past the ‘Pin-the-beak on the takahē’ competition to avoid getting pricked!

At the DOC stall, the ladies learned all about Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue and the Department of Conservation Takahē Recovery Programme.

Their knowledge was tested when they completed a brief quiz. Six winners were drawn from the pile of completed takahē quizzes to receive free family passes to Zealandia to visit the local takahē residents, Puffin and T2.

Amy Brasch pinning the nose on the takahē.

Amy Brasch pinning the nose on the takahē

Have you met Puffin and T2 yet? - posterParticipants also learnt that Wellington has two safe sites for takahē to call home—on Kapiti and Mana Islands. These offshore islands are two of five pest-free islands around New Zealand where takahē can breed safely without the threat of predation.

“Mitre 10 MEGA Petone knows how to attract the ladies—what a well attended event!

“It was great to interact with the women and make the connection to the local takahē on Kapiti Island, Mana Island, Mt. Bruce and Zealandia,” said Janna Kostus, DOC Community Partnerships Coordinator.

It is amazing to think that just 65 years ago takahē were so rare that people assumed they were extinct. It’s through conservation efforts, like the DOC Takahē Recovery Programme, that takahē were saved from extinction.

But, takahē still need our help! There are only 260 alive today, which is why Tark is so happy that Mitre 10 MEGA, Zealandia and the lovely ladies of Wellington supported the work of the Takahē Recovery Programme.

The evening raised $775 to give to Takahē Rescue.

By Kiersten McKinley

Assistance from private land owners helped create a record breeding season for the nationally critical threatened kakī/black stilt this year, but not before giving DOC’s Twizel staff the run around.

A group of juveniles released near Lake Tekapo.

A group of juveniles released near Lake Tekapo

Each year rangers collect kakī eggs from the wild, and up to six captive pairs, for safe incubation at the Captive Breeding Centre in Twizel.

Last spring, when it came time to find nests in the normal riverbed and wetland sites, staff couldn’t find many. Either the population had declined or they had nested elsewhere. Luckily it was the latter: A particular rainy start to the season saw many wet areas and ponds form on private land. These made attractive nesting sites for this threatened wading bird.

“We put the word out that we needed help to locate adult breeding pairs and got a fantastic response. We had one farmer who rang up to say he had found four eggs and he’d wait until we picked them up before moving his sheep into the paddock,” said Biodiversity Ranger Simone Cleland.

Left: Kakī eggs in a farmer’s paddock. Right: Farmers Jim and Maryanne Morris

Left: Kakī eggs in a farmer’s paddock. Right: Farmers Jim and Maryanne Morris

“Another farmer spotted a likely nest from the seat of his tractor. He called up straight away so that we could rescue the eggs and he could carry on working!”

“The farmers I dealt with were very in-tune with their environment and knew exactly what birds they were looking at,” said Biodiversity Ranger Cody Thyne.

“Some people have trouble distinguishing kakī from pied stilts or even oystercatchers,  but these farmers were extremely observant and reliable informants.”

It wasn’t only farmers that responded to DOC’s request for help. Sam Staley, the caretaker stationed at Lake Tekapo Military Camp, rang up on several occasions during the season to report the location of juvenile kakī.

Soon the eggs were rolling in; 172 all up, and that put extra pressure on Aviculturist Liz Brown and her team at the captive rearing centre.

“We managed to successfully incubate and hatch 134 chicks, of which 125 survived to fledge – well up on our previous best of 111,” says Liz.

A collection of kakī egg shells from the busy breeding season.

A collection of kakī egg shells from the busy breeding season

Nearly half of all the wild eggs collected over summer came from eight high country stations in the Mackenzie and Waitaki basins. And, while we’ve always had good ongoing communication with these landowners, the cooperation this season has been excellent and we hope to maintain and develop this relationship in the future.

Left: Cody and Glen carry juvenile kakī for release. Right: Young kaki chick only days old.

Left: Cody and Glen carry juvenile kakī for release. Right: ‘Aren’t I gorgeous?’ a young chick (only days old)

31 of the chicks were released near Tekapo in January, as the capacity of the aviaries to hold birds had been reached. The remainder of the young kakī will be held over winter and released in August this year. If they can survive the first few years then rangers may be collecting their eggs in the future too.

Find out how you can help the black stilt/kakī