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Kiwi recovery programmes are proving their worth even though the national population of the threatened bird continues to decline, Conservation Department science officer Rogan Colbourne says.

Mr Colbourne has been part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg scheme. The Hawke’s Bay group released its 100th young North Island brown kiwi into the Kaweka Ranges on Thursday.

Nationally the kiwi population is thought to be falling by about 6 per cent a year, but Mr Colbourne said local programmes were making a difference, in some cases having increased the local population.

“At Okarito [on the West Coast] they have increased the population from 150 to more than 300,” he said.

In Hawke’s Bay, with a kiwi population of fewer than 1000, the addition of 100 young birds since 2003 was significant. Kiwi lived on average to 40 – and even to 60 – if there were no predators.

In these programmes, eggs are taken from the wild and incubated, then the hatchlings are kept in a predator-proof environment till considered big enough to fend for themselves in the wild.

“There is a 90 per cent hatch rate with these eggs, compared with only 50 per cent in the wild, for various reasons,” Mr Colbourne said.

“Possums can eat the eggs, the adults can damage them accidentally, and there can be bacteria after rainfall.

“Once hatched [in captivity] about 80 per cent reach the sub-adult stage and once they are released about two-thirds survive in the wild, though that varies from area to area.”

Of kiwi hatched in the wild, only about 5 per cent survived to become adults, as predators such as stoats, ferrets and feral cats ate the young birds. Ferrets and dogs could kill adults, and dogs were a particular worry in Northland.

About 15 recovery groups were operating in the North Island, with assistance from DOC and other organisations, Mr Colbourne said.

The Hawke’s Bay group is led by the Environment, Conservation and Outdoor Education Trust.

Spokesman Alastair Bramley said the survival rate for the kiwi released in Hawke’s Bay was about two-thirds overall, but it had been up at 90 per cent till an outbreak of ferret attacks in 2008.

“We haven’t lost any since then,” he said.

Dogs were not such a big problem in Hawke’s Bay because hunters there had to put their dogs through kiwi aversion training before they could register them, Mr Bramley said.

The 100th kiwi has been named Parauri and was released in the Kawekas after a ceremony at the Pan Pac Kiwi Creche, inland from Tutira.

Original story

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Monday, 21 December 2009, 11:12 am
Press Release: NZ Plant Conservation Network

Climate change increases value of Kiwi native plant

The golden sand sedge – pingao – has won the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network’s 2009 favourite plant poll, and could be a valuable defence against climate change effects.

The pingao topped more than 100 species in the annual poll. Network President Philippa Crisp said that pingao would become increasingly important in combating the effects of climate change, particularly as an increasing number of coastal homes came under threat

“If the global plan to fight climate change stalls and sea level rises occur, pingao will become even more important to New Zealanders because it plays an important role in stabilising sand dunes and creating a beach contour that is not so vulnerable to storm events and sea level rises,” Dr Crisp said. “Pingao may be our only sustainable hope for coastal protection”.

full media release on scoop.co.nz

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TV3 > News > Weather/Environment News > Story > Rat scare at island sanctuary averted by four-legged hero

An island sanctuary for rare birds has been at the centre of a pest scare today. Motuihe Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf has been rat-free for 15 years, but yesterday paw prints were found at several spots on the island.

Jack the dog has been specially trained to smell a rat and today his senses were put to the test.

Jack and his owner, Fin Buchanan, have been training for seven years for a day like today.

But with a camera watching Jack’s every step, finding the Motuihe rat still looked like big weight to bear.

The rogue rat threatened the Department of Conservation’s million dollar plans to release kiwi and other rare birds on the island.

“This is the last thing we needed or expected,” DoC threats officer Ditch Keeling said. “We haven’t had a rat on here for 15 years. It’s really quite bizarre.”

The rat is thought to have come in off a boat and prints had been spotted in five of the island’s 45 tunnels, cunningly built to detect rat-steps.

DoC staff like Mr Keeling had been setting traps through the night.

“You live an adrenaline mode for the first ten days and then you start to get really tired,” Mr Keeling said.

But it was not long before Jack found the elusive rodent.

“Obviously we’re pretty elated,” Ditch Keeling said. “If this is the only rat on the island then we’ve just pulled off the fastest complete eradications ever taken place.”

Close inspection showed the rat was a female. The Department of Conservation will now need to check for signs whether she has ever had babies. And if that is the case, Jack could be making a return trip to the sanctuary.

video of story

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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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click on the images for the tvnz video

The Department of Conservation says a major landslip has caused a new lake in the Haast Pass area of Mount Aspiring National Park.

You would say that this would make a very interesting study, to see and record what happens here ecologically , it would be nice to know if anyone intends to do this , if anyone has any knowledge of such a plan please send a email and let us know .

update 1 : a media release from DOC

update 2 : “concern that lake could swamp township” tv3 story and video 3 october

update  3 :  Water has begun flowing over the dam near Makarora  tv3 story and video 7 october

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DOC takes kiwi threat seriously (01:52) | Video | tvnz.co.nz

click on image for video

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