Old water reserve becomes ‘ark to the future’

In Nelson they’re building an ark to the future. The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary is at the site of a long-abandoned water reserve – a huge area comprised mainly of pristine old-growth forest. This ark for indigenous wildlife is 691 hectares in size, making it 2½ times the size of Zealandia or Orokonui. Like Wellington’s Zealandia … Continue reading Old water reserve becomes ‘ark to the future’

Rat plague threatens wetlands birds at Harbourview

Unbeknown to most Aucklanders, fernbirds and banded rails are living only 9km from their city centre. But Jeremy Painting has discovered that rats in ‘plague’ proportions are threatening nesting success. He tells his story… Although situated only 9km from downtown Auckland and tucked on the eastern side of the Te Atatu Peninsula, this reserve is relatively unknown … Continue reading Rat plague threatens wetlands birds at Harbourview

Tree traps – a good alternative?

By Bryce Buckland (Birdlife on Grampians, Nelson). Trapping groups like to know that their efforts achieve the best results protecting native birdlife. For smaller pests like rats, most groups use the standard box trap with a Victor Professional trap inside. You know what you catch, but tracking tunnels are the popular way to check what … Continue reading Tree traps – a good alternative?

Predator Free Wellington – the momentum gathers…

The momentum is growing and we’re super excited about it! Wellington has just announced its plans to be the world’s first predator-free capital. Go Wellington! The NEXT Foundation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council are banding together to lead the initiative, but they won’t be doing it on their own. Success depends on … Continue reading Predator Free Wellington – the momentum gathers…

Goats, stoats and possum-fur coats: it’s carnage out there

Guest blog by Peter Heath It’s dead. Very dead, judging by the stench and the smooshed appearance of the remains – all fur, bones and black-brown gloopy stuff. A possum, maybe? A rabbit? “It’s not just townies,” Simon says, smiling at my obvious disgust. “There’s plenty of debate among farmers and bush dwellers, too. One … Continue reading Goats, stoats and possum-fur coats: it’s carnage out there

Staunch penguins a match for stoats, but not dogs

Reuben Lane enjoys the staunch, feisty characters of the seabirds he’s helping to keep safe on the South Island’s West Coast – blue penguins, Fiordland crested penguins, petrels and fairy prions – they’re all birds with a bit of ‘attitude’. Based in Westport, Reuben moved to the Buller in 1998 to help Native Forest Action … Continue reading Staunch penguins a match for stoats, but not dogs

Kiwi are thriving – and so are kereru

The magnolias aren’t looking too good at Arthur Hinds’ place. His wife Diane used to complain about the damage possums were doing. But that’s not the problem nowadays. The Department of Conservation dealt to the possums in 2000, just before the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group started their predator control programme. Arthur joined the Kiwi Care … Continue reading Kiwi are thriving – and so are kereru

Trust aims to be predator free from Glenorchy to the Sea

Formed in 2013, the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust (RDWT) is inspired by a vision of being predator free “from Glenorchy to the sea,” says trustee Amanda Hasselman. Working in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and the Hollyford Trust, with substantial sponsorship from Air New Zealand, the Trust aims to bring back the birdsong to … Continue reading Trust aims to be predator free from Glenorchy to the Sea

North Island robins are taking off at Puketoki

Puketoki Reserve is virgin low-altitude podocarp forest in the Whakamarama area (between Katikati and Tauranga). It was set aside for the people of the Tauranga region in 1928, by sawmilling firm Sharplin Brothers in a very early example of business conservation ethic. In recent times, the 40 Ha of virgin bush had become a haven … Continue reading North Island robins are taking off at Puketoki

Advocacy and active predator control on the Coromandel

When a small group of Coromandel locals got together in 2000, wanting to do something for the environment, they could little have imagined the sheer scale of conservation work being done by their members today. Sixteen years after the Moehau Environment Group (MEG) was first formed, the 100-strong group now works over a catchment area … Continue reading Advocacy and active predator control on the Coromandel

Secrets of Mangarakau Wetlands revealed

There’s something rather special about wetlands – and not just because they’re becoming increasingly rare. There is an air of secrets and mystery, of strangeness lurking just below the waterline. There is, for example, the mudfish. Mudfish are fish without scales that can survive without water – which makes for a very odd fish indeed. … Continue reading Secrets of Mangarakau Wetlands revealed

Local marae community inspires environmental change

Good things – even great things – can come from inauspicious-seeming beginnings. In 2010 a proposed new wastewater system got people worried in the small, remote East Coast settlement of Mahia, located on the Mahia Peninsula, between Napier and Gisborne. The effect of other land usage on water quality was also causing concern. The Whangawehi … Continue reading Local marae community inspires environmental change

Trelissick Park Group cares for idyllic wilderness area

It may well be Wellington’s best kept secret – an urban wilderness area where nationally threatened fish species thrive in a meandering stream and where possums were eradicated over a decade ago. An ongoing network of bait stations stops the possums from reinvading and keeps rat numbers down too. Not that the fish are particularly … Continue reading Trelissick Park Group cares for idyllic wilderness area

Kiwi Ranger keeps track of Great Spotted Kiwi

Jo Halley is sore – sore knees, sore feet and sore shoulders. She’s just back from several days of crawling through scrub in search of great spotted kiwi (roroa), then digging and crawling into muddy burrows to change the year-old batteries in their transmitters before they go flat. Evenings were spent listening for kiwi calls, … Continue reading Kiwi Ranger keeps track of Great Spotted Kiwi

BRaid comes to aid of ancient rivers and rare birdlife

The South Island’s stunning braided river systems have been formed over millions of years as clashing tectonic plates created mountains and glaciers and then high rainfall and melting snows washed away at the mountain rock, sweeping gravel down into the valleys and coastal plains. In between rainstorms and spring snow melts, the river flow reduced … Continue reading BRaid comes to aid of ancient rivers and rare birdlife

Making a Place for Penguins in the City

For a little penguin (until recently known as little blue penguin) in the city, the urban adventure includes a few extra hazards not encountered by their country-coastline relatives – including large steel-bodied predators super-fuelled by petroleum. If penguins have imaginations, then cars and trucks must seem like living nightmare monsters. But crossing a busy road … Continue reading Making a Place for Penguins in the City

Conservation groups team up to help Mt Aspiring kea

When it comes to clever, New Zealand’s alpine parrots are up there with the smartest crows, African Grey Parrots and even monkeys. Kea can problem-solve, use tools and do all the other things that show they’re among the world’s most intelligent non-humans. But, living above the treeline, they’ve evolved to nest among boulders and if … Continue reading Conservation groups team up to help Mt Aspiring kea

Coal Island – a southern sanctuary for rare species

In late 2015, 80 mohua were transferred from Chalky Island to Te Puka-Hereka/Coal Island in Fiordland National Park, the latest in a series of native bird transfers to the island. It was an exciting event for the South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust (SWNZESCT), whose members had been working since 2004 to raise … Continue reading Coal Island – a southern sanctuary for rare species

Art exhibition is latest initiative for Otago Peninsula group

An art exhibition is an unusual way to tackle introduced pests, but ‘Citizen Sci-Art’, on show at the Portobello Hall for the weekend 27-28 February, is the latest in many initiatives by the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group (OPBG) and their supporters to get out and about and talking to their local community. Subtitled ‘from Stewart … Continue reading Art exhibition is latest initiative for Otago Peninsula group

Protecting the Wildside’s unique biodiversity

Marie Haley lives in her great grandmother’s house on the Banks Peninsula land that was first farmed by her French great-great-great grandfather. It’s on a part of Banks Peninsula known as the ‘Wildside’, named for its rugged landscape, dramatic cliffs and iconic species of birds, insects and plants – some of which are not found … Continue reading Protecting the Wildside’s unique biodiversity

Fernbirds flourishing at Sinclair Wetlands

Glen Riley, coordinator at Te Nohoaka o Tukiauau, Sinclair Wetlands, 40km south of Dunedin, has been talking with some members of the Ornithological Society recently. According to the ornithologists, spotless crake were seen at the wetlands 30 years ago, but have been rare ever since. That may have changed. Glen says crakes have been heard … Continue reading Fernbirds flourishing at Sinclair Wetlands

Tough little duck has some hardy supporters

New Zealand’s whio or blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos to those with a fondness for Latin), likes nothing better than the turbulent white water of a fast-flowing mountain river. Its preferred habitat is so rugged that blue ducklings hatch with unusually large feet, even for ducks. Having big feet means they’re better able cope with the … Continue reading Tough little duck has some hardy supporters

Mind the Trap: Data Capture a Time-Saver on Great Barrier

Imagine this: you’re the new manager of Glenfern, a 260-hectare sanctuary on Great Barrier Island in Auckland. There are over 1,000 tunnels and bait stations to monitor, both inside and bordering the sanctuary. Would you head out for several hours at a time, clutching a waterproof notebook, and then return to manually enter any captures … Continue reading Mind the Trap: Data Capture a Time-Saver on Great Barrier

Ratatouille: Birkenhead’s Urban Rat Blitz

The suburb of Birkenhead sits on Auckland’s North Shore, with views across the Waitemata Harbour, thriving bush reserves, a bustling shopping village, and it’s just a few minutes’ drive over the Harbour Bridge to the central city. However, like many New Zealand neighbourhoods that border bushland reserves or waterways, there’s a bit of a rat … Continue reading Ratatouille: Birkenhead’s Urban Rat Blitz

A way forward for community led conservation by Julian Fitter

Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society (MOWS) was started in 2009 to help look after the colony of New Zealand Dotterel on Maketu Spit. This then quickly morphed into an ecological restoration project through a Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP), funded by both councils and DOC, with MOWS providing the volunteer labour. This plan ends in June 2015 … Continue reading A way forward for community led conservation by Julian Fitter

Caught in a Trap: Halo Takes on Wellington’s Predators

Ever heard a possum lurking outside your bedroom window in the middle of the night, breathing heavily, or a rat’s tiny feet scuttling across the roof overhead? Neither experience is pleasant. Instead, imagine hearing native birdsong, a mini bird sanctuary of dawn chorus in your own back yard. Imagine a rat or possum trap feeling … Continue reading Caught in a Trap: Halo Takes on Wellington’s Predators