Source: New Zealand Government
Kākā and other threatened native birds and wildlife are thriving due to Tiakina Ngā Manu – the largest ever predator control programme in the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) history, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today.
“We have a biodiversity crisis around the world and in New Zealand, which is why in 2018 the Government delivered the biggest boost to Department of Conservation funding in decades,” Eugenie Sage said.
“This has enabled DOC to undertake its biggest ever predator control programme ‘Tiakina Ngā Manu’ over more than 848,635 hectares of conservation land to ensure our unique native forests and wildlife can thrive. The work was largely completed before the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown started.
“Large flocks of South Island kākā with more than 30 juveniles in Fiordland’s Eglinton valley, for example, show kākā are thriving and their population is rebounding as a result of ongoing predator control.
“Monitoring has shown an effective decline in the number of rats at more than three quarters of the sites monitored.
“The ratio of one female kākā for every 1.4 males in the Eglinton Valley is also a sign of a healthy population. Without predator control, many female kākā are killed in their nest holes causing a male-skewed population. Ratios as low as one female for every 5.7 males have been recorded in areas without predator control.
“Last year’s mega mast saw a big increase in trees dropping their fruits and seeds to the forest floor, providing spikes in predator populations who thrive on these until they run out – then they turn on native species. The mega mast made this predator control work even more important.
“Orange-fronted kākāriki, rock wren, kiwi, kea, kākā, mohua/yellowhead, whio/blue duck and pekapeka/bats have also benefited from predator control,” Eugenie Sage said
COVID-19 Alert Level 4 means DOC has paused its predator control field work to support the COVID-19 response and ensure staff and contractors can stay at home. The Department is, however, busy planning its Tiakina Ngā Manu programme for 2020/2021, working with iwi and hapū Treaty partners and consulting stakeholders and local communities by phone and skype.