Major boost planned for Fiordland’s endangered pateke population
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe trial release of twenty pateke/brown teal into Fiordland last year has proven so successful that forty more birds will be transferred there this month.
Date: 05 March 2010
The trial release of twenty pateke/brown teal into Fiordland last year has proven so successful that forty more birds will be transferred there this month.
Survivorship of the twenty pateke released last March into the Arthur Valley area of Fiordland National Park has been the highest of all first time captive releases. And they have certainly made themselves feel at home. In a very rare occurrence, two pairs of birds have attempted to breed and are sitting on nests due to hatch any day. If successful, these will be the first ducklings produced at any release site within the first year of being transferred there.
DOC Te Anau Biodiversity Ranger Andrew Smart said the release of forty more birds into Fiordland has been made possible thanks to a nationwide effort of private breeders, conservation trusts, Ngati wai, Ngai tahu and local businesses supporting the project.
Ultimate Hikes who run guided walks on the world famous Milford and Routeburn Tracks are the major sponsor. Local tourism operator Real Journeys are also contributing to flying costs. Representatives from the Queenstown Kiwi Birdlife Park will be attending the release having bred several of the birds.
The pateke due to be released are currently residing at Peacock Springs Wildlife Park in Christchurch. “They are undergoing health checks, banding and having transmitters attached” Mr Smart said.
All things going well the birds will be released on the 10th March into the stoat trapped area of the Arthur and Joes Valley’s, close to the Milford Track.
“With only around 2000 purebred pateke living in a wild state in New Zealand, this second release of pateke into the South Island is going to make a real difference,” Mr Smart said. “And if survival rates are good, more than 200 pateke could be released into Fiordland over the next five years”.
Additional information about brown teal/pateke
- Pateke are a nationally endangered wetland bird. They were once widespread throughout New Zealand but are now rare and restricted to Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula and coastal valleys of eastern Northland plus several predator free islands. Twenty were released into Fiordland in March 2009.
- The species has suffered an ongoing decline in numbers and range since the late nineteenth century.
- Stoats are their number one predator in Fiordland. In other mainland areas cats, dogs and cars are a factor. Their natural predators include weka (for their eggs), eels and falcons.
- Prior to the trial release in March 2009, purebred pateke were last seen around Lake Ada (Milford Track) Fiordland National Park in the mid 1990’s. A search for purebred individuals in Fiordland in the late 1990’s proved unsuccessful. DNA samples found individuals to be a mix of Brown Teal, Mallards and Grey Ducks.