Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today officially opened a 'boot camp' for whio at the Tongariro National Trout Centre near Turangi.
The release of the first ducklings into the new hardening facility, or 'boot camp', marks a major step forward in the battle to save the endangered whio, or blue duck. The facility allows the birds to gain fitness and readiness before being released on their own into the wild.
“This opening signals a positive step in securing a bright future for this iconic species, and is another successful example of the Department of Conservation’s strong partnership with Genesis Energy,” says Ms Barry.
Genesis Energy and the Department of Conservation have partnered together in a five year programme to secure the future of this vulnerable native bird.
Operating under the name 'Whio Forever', the partnership is fast-tracking implementation of the national Whio Recovery Plan, to protect whio and increase public awareness.
“This 'boot camp' is the first dedicated facility on the North Island and supports the whio’s captive breeding programme by providing a safe environment for captive reared ducklings,” says Ms Barry.
The project was funded by DOC, Genesis Energy and the Central North Island Blue Duck Trust.