South Island walk supports return of kiwi
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionFriends of Flora’s bid to return kiwi to Kahurangi National Park’s Flora Stream area is being boosted by Aucklander Des Lehndorf, who this week began walking the length of the South Island to raise funds in support of the project.
Date: 08 January 2010
Friends of Flora’s bid to return kiwi to Kahurangi National Park’s Flora Stream area is being boosted by Aucklander Des Lehndorf, who this week began walking the length of the South Island to raise funds in support of the project.
Des yesterday (Thursday,7 January) began walking the Heaphy Track to start off his 1250-kilometre trek down the South Island.
Friends of Flora member Chris Potter
with Des Lehndorf at the start of the
The Friends of Flora (FoF) community conservation group, with Department of Conservation support, is planning to return great spotted kiwi/roroa to the Flora area this autumn. It is aimed to move up to 14 great spotted kiwi – seven pairs – there from the Boulder Lake-Clark River area of the national park.
FoF member Chris Potter said it was a major milestone for the 60-member group which has been carrying out pest control over the past nine years to protect and enhance the area’s native wildlife and vegetation.
“Kiwi will be the first species to be returned to our Flora project area and it is an exciting landmark achievement for us. It will be great for everyone who knows or visits the Flora area to have kiwi there again. We are very grateful to all those who have supported us with donations, bequests and grants to help raise the initial $24,000 needed to move kiwi to the Flora.
”We especially want to thank Des for his South Island fundraising walk,” said Chris, who will be joining Des later this month (23 January) for about five days to go across the Waiau Pass and via the St James Walkway to the Lewis Pass.
Des’s fundraising walk will help support efforts to raise the further $72,000 still needed for the three-year project to re-establish kiwi in the area.
Native birds in the Flora area already are reaping the benefits of the group’s pest control. Particularly heartening for the group has been the rise in blue duck/whio numbers with 16 counted on Flora Stream below Flora Hut during a survey there last month by FoF members and a DOC ranger. To their delight, it included two whio families, with five and six ducklings respectively.
This whio pair with six young ducks is
living proof of the success of the
Friends of Flora project
It was a special moment for Chris Potter when he came across one of the whio families.
“Imagine my surprise and elation, coming round a rocky bend in the stream to be greeted by the excited whistle of a male whio,” said Chris. “As I slipped on the rocks and fumbled for my camera, his family came into view – six half-grown ducklings!
“After trapping the area continuously since 2001 every one of our volunteers should have been standing where I was, enjoying a reward for all their work.
“The mother of the five ducklings was the daughter of a female placed in the Flora in 2006. That means there are now three generations of that family alive and well in the stream.”
Until a pair produced young in 2007, there had been no whio breeding on Flora Stream for more than a decade. Whio numbers had been driven down by introduced predators, especially stoats.
Monitoring is also showing increases in bellbirds, riflemen and tomtits, and weka are being seen more frequently, some currently with chicks.
FoF currently maintains more than 65 kilometres of trap lines over 5000 hectares, linking in with DOC pest control in the area.
Chris Potter, phone +64 3 526 6068