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Archive for October, 2007

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click on image for the dompost.co.nz video

larger lmage


One hundred and thirty tuatara have been freed into the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in a continued effort to establish a mainland population.

A team of scientists spent five days on Stephens Island in the Marlborough Sounds last week catching the tuatara.

Conservation scientist Raewyn Empson said warm weather last week meant plenty of tuatara were out and about on the island and could be easily captured by hand.

Tuatara might appear docile, but they could deliver a nasty bite and they had sharp claws, she said.

With an estimated population of 50,000 tuatara on Stephens Island, plenty of the reptiles remained there. The new arrivals would triple the Wellington sanctuary’s population.

In December 2005, the sanctuary became home to 70 tuatara returning to mainland New Zealand for the first time in more than 200 years. Those animals are thriving and some are thought to have mated.

The new tuatara were also expected to do well. “There’s lots of food, and much less competition than on the island,” Ms Empson said.

After a welcome by members of the Ngati Koata iwi yesterday, the tuatara were freed deep in the sanctuary, away from prying eyes.

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In 1924 a north Canterbury farmer discovered a new species of fish – not an amazing feat in itself, except this fish doesn’t need water to survive

Today, the town of Oxford made the critically endangered fish a local hero in an effort to save it.
The endangered Canterbury mudfish are so hardy they can exist by burrowing into mud and breathing through their skin.
Although they have been in the area for thousands of years their future is under threat.
That is why the town of oxford is trying to raise the fish’s profile.

Maori have long known about the fish but it was local farmer Alfred Burrows who discovered their unique properties.
In 1924 he was digging a well when he noticed several small fish in the paddock around him.
Alfred Burrows knew you do not normally find fish living in paddocks so he sent a live specimen to the Dominion Museum where it was found to be an entirely new species.

Unfortunately by then the Canterbury plains had changed from lush wetland to productive farmland.
Because so much of their habitat is gone they’re classified as ‘nationally endangered’.
In fact, it is the country’s second most threatened fish.

So the area’s supporting the creature online – the fish has its own website – mudfish.org.nz.
And everyone here hopes the extra attention will help out these lesser known locals.

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Scoop: Vodafone gets in behind the Yellow-eyed Penguins

Vodafone and Run The Red are excited to announce Donatelive! a new service which is the first of its kind in New Zealand. The service enables customers with Vodafone live! capable handsets to donate to the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.

Users can donate $3, $5 or $9 and in return will receive multimedia content downloaded directly to their phone. Content includes Yellow-eyed penguin ringtones, screensavers and videos. Vodafone will pass on 100% of the donation to the charity.

Customers can also see information on Vodafone live! about the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the work they are doing to save one of our national treasures.

This new initiative is launching to the public on October 11 in conjunction with the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s 20th Anniversary. The service has been created by the 2007 Graduates as part of the Vodafone Graduate Programme and will be available for an initial three month period. full press release

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New Zealand albatross making massive flights – New Zealand news on Stuff.co.nz
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Three New Zealand birds are enjoying their big OE and are not expected back for years.

The three northern royal albatross are being monitored as part of a Massey University PhD student’s research into their behaviour.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said a chick he named Toroa at a special ceremony earlier this year was now 550km off the coast of New Zealand and heading east into the Pacific Ocean.

Toroa and the other two young albatross were fitted with lightweight transmitters which track their position by satellite every six hours.

PhD student Bindi Thomas would look into the first year of the birds’ lives – they are expected to spend up to seven years at sea.

“This research will give us important information on what is one of the most solitary and amazing journeys in the animal kingdom,” Mr Carter said.

“Hopefully, all three young birds will eventually return to Taiaroa Head after their years of wandering and successfully raise their own chicks.”

Toroa flew up the coast of New Zealand as far as Oamaru before heading east into the Pacific. Toroa, who fledged late last month, got a head start on the other two birds and has flown 700km so far.

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Scoop: Fancy a dirty weekend in your own back yard?

Residents of Wellington and the Kapiti Coast are encouraged to have a Dirty weekend in their own back yard.

After a session clearing environmentally-damaging weeds from their garden, they will be rewarded with a replacement native plant at weed swaps at Wellington’s Waitangi Park from 10am to 2pm on October 13, and the Kapiti Uniting Parish at Raumati from 2pm to 5pm on October 14.

They are part of a national Weedbusters initiative to promote environmentally-friendly gardening by urging people to replace garden weeds with natives and so improve our natural environment, not just for people but also for our native insects, lizards and birds.    full press release

www.weedbusters.org.nz

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Greater Wellington – Long Gully control programme to protect native birds and bush
Long Gully Map
Native birds and bush in Long Gully, near the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, will benefit from a possum and rat control operation which begins on Monday 8 October 2007. The operation is part of an ongoing programme to keep possum and rat numbers at low levels.

Long Gully is a strip of bush that includes some private land owners and Wellington Natural Heritage Trust land. It is situated between the suburbs of Karori and Brooklyn and is adjacent to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Control will be carried out in areas of bush and scrub.

“The programme will be of huge benefit to the native species in the area, as well as to neighbouring properties, creating a safe place for native birds to breed and enabling native trees to regenerate,” says Greater Wellington biosecurity officer Glen Falconer. here for full story

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Some of the country’s shyest, weirdest and rarest inhabitants have stepped into the limelight on TVNZ’s new digital

channel, TVNZ 6.

Meet the Locals is a new series of four-minute shows featuring everything from electric fishing for our enigmatic native fish, to getting up close and personal with New Zealand’s mysterious short-tailed bats.

The series has emerged from a partnership between the Department of Conservation and TVNZ 6. Meet the Locals will be screened in the ‘Family’ time slot on TVNZ 6 (4pm-8.30pm) and will also be available on the DOC website and beyond.

“This initiative is tremendous for DOC – allowing us to reach new audiences and grow awareness of just how easy it is to get into the wilds of New Zealand and see what millions of people travel here every year to experience,” said Director-General, Al Morrison.

“Meet the Locals is designed to give New Zealand audiences a taste of the surprising and inspiring stories of their natural heritage and TVNZ is proud to present this special series for viewers of TVNZ 6, the first of our new digital channels”, said TVNZ Commissioner Philippa Mossman.

“It is filmed throughout New Zealand, and showcases every aspect of conservation in New Zealand, including native wildlife, pest control, recreation opportunities and our cultural and historic heritage.”

Hosted by DOC’s Nicola Vallance, who regularly features on TV One’s Good Morning, Meet the Locals will showcase “kiwi natives, local plants, local animals and the humans who love to look after them”. The series features DOC staff, businesses, communities and individuals who are all involved in looking after our wildlife and wild places.

doc . meet the locals videos

DOC goes digital – introducing “Meet the Locals” on TVNZ 6: Media release

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