20 pāteke (brown teal) are hoping for good weather when they fly into Napier today on the last leg of their trip to their new home.
This is the first of many translocations that will see up to 200 pāteke released within the Panpac kiwi crèche at Lake Opouahi in northern Hawke’s Bay as part of the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project. Kelly Eaton, Department of Conservation Ranger says the birds will be released onto the lake which is within the safety of a predator proof fence. “With the absence of introduced predators it is hoped the pāteke will flourish and spread though the district. A trapping programme of over more than 8000ha of surrounding farm land will give additional protection for any birds that leave the crèche site.”
“Pāteke were once found throughout New Zealand in their millions. Now as a result of predation and habitat loss they are our rarest waterfowl species found on the mainland” Kelly said. The recovery of pāteke is aided by the captive breeding programme and landowners willing to home these precious birds. The 20 birds arriving today have been reared by captive breeders around New Zealand. They were then moved to the Issac Conservation and Wildlife Trust in Canterbury where they have learnt skills to aid survival in the wild. The final leg of their journey ends today when they are released onto Lake Opouahi.
The Cape Sanctuary has also been the recipient of pāteke and have released a number of these captive bred birds over the last few years. Tamsin Ward-Smith, Sanctuary Manager said pāteke are breeding well behind the predator proof fence and have now spread out onto surrounding farms.
Campbell Leckie, Land Services Manager for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council said “to halt the decline in New Zealand’s unique biodiversity we need to better integrate our conservation efforts on public and private land. We all have a part to play and seeing a threatened species like pāteke thrive on farmland is a great example of how the future can be.”
The importance of landowners and community to biodiversity success is a key part of the recently developed Hawke’s Bay Regional Biodiversity Strategy. “Projects like Poutiri Ao ō Tāne and the recently launched sister project Cape to City sit underneath the strategy and together are working on cutting edge research and tools that will give us a tangible pathway to the future” he said.