While the importance of protecting kiwi from extinction is well known throughout New Zealand, the fate of another iconic bird hangs in the balance.
Numbers of whio, or native blue duck are dangerously low. With less than 3000 of the species left, the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, Genesis Energy and the Central North Island Blue Duck Trust have joined forces to raise awareness of the native whio.
The highly endangered whio is not only unique to New Zealand but also unique among the waterfowl. It is unrelated to any duck elsewhere in the world and many of its habits are peculiar to the species. Whio are also an important indicator of the health of our fresh waterways.
March is Whio Awareness Month. Please join us in helping whio. Because if we don’t do something, the ten dollar note is the only place we’ll be seeing whio in the future.
Come along to Whio Family Day at the Tongariro Trout Centre in Turangi on Saturday 19 March from 10–3 pm to learn more about Whio. There will be a sausage sizzle, a bouncy castle and face painting so it’s a great day out for the whole family!
Here are some things that you can do to help whio:
- Keep the waterways and the river environment clean
- When camping or picnicking remember to take out what you bring in
- Observe guidelines for keeping the waterways free from didymo
- Leave your dogs at home when visiting waterways where whio populations live or keep them on a leash
- Support riparian planting and waterway protection in your area