Egmont National Park is a special place, treasured by the people of Taranaki and New Zealand. It has plants and animals found nowhere else in New Zealand and some that are found nowhere else in the world.
The 34,169 ha park has over 40 bird species including the endangered North Island brown kiwi, fern bird, whio/blue duck and also tomtit, rifleman, bellbird and tui. There are about 650 species of native plants and a diverse range of forest types, including a remnant of coastal kohekohe forest on the Kaitake Range. This type of forest had disappeared from much of Taranaki.
Impact of pests on the park
Possums have caused significant damage to our landscape by stripping palatable plant species such as mistletoe, fuschia, kohekohe, rata and other native plants.
Possums are one of the main causes for the decline of species such as the rare Dactylanthus taylori or the “word rose”. They also have been known to eat the rare giant land snail Powelliphanta “Egmont”.
Rats eating eggs in a nest
Possums and rats preying on eggs, chicks and nesting females in Egmont National Park has contributed to the decline of many bird species.
In New Zealand the impact of stoats, ferrets and weasels on threatened and endangered bird species is of particular concern. Stoat, even in low numbers in the forest, are currently the major factor contributing to the continuing decline of mainland kiwi populations.
Protecting the park
As part of ongoing pest control, DOC applied 1080 cereal baits to 33,00 ha of Egmont National Park in February 2010. The Taranaki Regional Council undertook a ground based possum control operation on neighbouring farms during this time.
Monitoring results indicate possum, stoat and rat numbers have plummted since the operation - providing a precious lifeline for the native forest and vulnerable bird species.
Visit the park
Egmont National Park is the healthiest it has been in many years thanks to ongoing pest management, intervention and resourcing - come and see for yourself.
Visit one early morning in spring to catch up on the dawn chorus. Walk a track in early-mid summer when you will be able to see the increased flowering of species such as rata, kamahi and fuchsia that have benefitted from less possum browse.