Introduction

Elusive, threatened native whio in Whirinaki have been given a major helping hand thanks to Galatea School students.

Elusive, threatened native whio (blue duck) in Whirinaki have been given a major helping hand thanks to Galatea School students.

The students submitted their plans to help the whio to the ASB Community Enterprise Scheme and were successful in winning one of 10 grants of $500 awarded nationwide.

They added to the fund through extra fundraising and on Friday presented Department of Conservation Te Urewera Whirinaki rangers Sarah King and Graeme Weavers with the $707 proceeds of their efforts.

Ms King said the money would buy six brand new DOC200 double traps.

"The main enemy of whio are stoats, and the best thing we can do to try and preserve these birds is kill stoats.

"The new double 200 traps will replace the old single traps and improve our kill rate by 300%," Ms King said.

It is planned that the Galatea students will help Ms King do the field work putting the new traps in place in February.

While totally impressed by the money the kids raised, Ms King was even more blown away by their commitment to the cause of saving birds that are much rarer than kiwi.

"Next year they are going to continue in the competition at the next level and will continue with the Whirinaki Whio project, so fingers crossed, they're an impressive group of students with a real 'can do' attitude which is very exciting."

Galatea students also won a $500 grant to support Rotorua SPCA.

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