Archives For wildlife

New Zealanders are lucky to live in a nation with such a diversity of native flora and fauna. Writer Johanna Cider shares a few reasons why New Zealand’s wildlife is so unique.

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The latest update from Threatened Species Ambassador, Nicola Toki, who has been spending time with communities and nature-lovers focusing on freshwater wildlife.

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Marine Ranger Yuin Khai Foong writes about last week’s call out to check up on an injured New Zealand fur seal.

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Twice a year Stella McQueen arrives in her campervan at Whangamarino Wetland to count fernbirds/mātātāa and spotless crake/pūweto for four hours every dawn and dusk.

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Uncle Aka the ‘perpetual bachelor’ takahē on Mana Island has found love at the Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

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By Michelle Crouchley, Partnerships Ranger, Te Anau

Following a career spanning 30 years of service to conservation, Te Anau Wildlife Park ranger Carol Gardner, has retired from DOC.

Carol feeding a kea.

Carol and one of the keas she has known since it was an egg!

‘The big break’

Carol started working in conservation so long ago that she can’t even remember the date! It all began when she started to look for work outside of her role as mother to her four children. She was married to a farmer, and at the time many employers would not consider taking on someone in her position. When Carol mentioned she was looking for work to Lands and Survey Department staff Russell Montgomery and John Clark, they offered her a job working on tracks in the Tuatapere area. Carol describes this as her ‘big break’ and will always be thankful to Russell and John for giving her that opportunity. Reflecting on this moment, Carol said “the decisions you make about other people can change their lives and we should never forget how much influence we can have on other people.”

Carol’s career has seen her doing many different jobs in many different places throughout Fiordland. In the late 70’s and early 80’s she was part of a project building tracks in Fiordland National Park.

Carol’s walking companions.

Carol’s walking companions

‘Funny moments’

Carol has fond memories of working in the Hollyford Valley with John Clark. One day the fridge broke down and they had to carry it out. John shouldered the fridge and Carol walked in front, as they passed trampers John would explain his strange load by saying “I’ve got the ice; she’s got the gin!”

She then moved to Te Anau and took on a job looking after an area that spanned from Milford Sound to Mavora Lakes; it would take her three hours to drive from one end of her beat to the other!

During this time Carol was responsible for landscaping outside Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre and caretaking in the now council owned Ivon Wilson Park. For the past 24 years she has been  taking care of our feathered friends at Te Anau’s Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park.

Carol leading a tour of the Te Anau Wildlife Park

‘What will you miss most about working at DOC?’

Carol formed a deep affection for the park’s birds. She has cared for the two resident kea since they were eggs. They are now mature 25 year old birds. She hand-reared the Canadian Geese that reside in the waterfowl enclosure and has looked after all the other birds that have lived in the park: weka, kereru, pateke, ruru, parakeets, kaka, paradise shelducks and takahe. Carol found her calling as an advocate for our native birds. It is the birds at the Te Anau Wildlife Park that Carol will miss the most now she has left DOC.

Carol’s retirement cake.

Carol’s retirement cake

‘What’s next?’

Carol’s contribution to the Department will not end with her retirement as she intends to continue her service by volunteering. She also intends to spend lots of time hanging out with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, walking her dogs and tramping.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast.

Carol giving resident kākā, Charlie Brown, her breakfast

By Ligs Hoffman, Ellen Fitzsimons and Bev Bacon from DOC’s Web/Intranet Teams.

Injured kiwi wrapped in a towel.

‘Bel’ the injured kiwi

So how do three desk bound National Office staff come to have a live kiwi in their boot?

Ligs, Ellen and Bev were in Whanganui to meet with DOC staff about all things web/intranet. We had a great day with our colleagues who do the front line “real” DOC work and we were packing up ready to head back to Wellington when we heard the call “Anyone going to Wellington or Palmerston North?”

A ranger had arrived at the office with an injured kiwi. It had an injured toe, was dehydrated and needed treatment at Wildbase Hospital, Massey University. We were perhaps a little overexcited at being this close to a real kiwi and enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

With the frontline staff looking slightly bemused we leapt around like giddy schoolgirls as they made sure the kiwi was sitting comfortably in her box, on a soft bed of ferns. Her box was secured among our luggage in the back of the car. Having tweeted and Facebooked our friends we then set off.

A green transport box for the injured kiwi.

Transport box for the injured kiwi

On the way we decided the kiwi should be named Bel for Bev, Ellen and Ligs, an appropriate name as it turned out as she’s a girl.

Staff at Wildbase Hospital tending to the kiwi.

The expert staff at Wildbase Hospital tend to the kiwi

Despite the vets telling us we could leave at anytime, we wanted to watch how the treatment went and see her safely into her bed that night. We were fascinated to see the four staff administering antibiotics and fluids, and cleaning and bandaging up her sore toe. We learnt a lot as they explained what they were doing and why. We now know that you can tell the sex of a kiwi from the length of its beak – girls have a longer one.

Kiwi with an injured toe.

Checking out ‘Bel’s’ injured toe

Our part in the recovery of this kiwi was minor but made us feel proud and privileged to work for the Department of Conservation. We are thankful for organisations like Wildbase who partner with us to protect our native species.

The kiwi's injured toe up close.

The sore foot up close