Monday, 23 March 2009

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

It seemed all was lost at the kaka nest when the female was seen
outside the nest for over an hour and the male nowhere around. However
two days later when a photo was taken to reveal what was actually
happening inside the tree – to great surprise and delight one fluffy
chick was discovered. The appearance of particular feathers on the
chick suggest it is approximately a month old. It will be another
month before it comes out of the nest and another 5 months before it
is independent.

One of our young kaka males has been out of signal range for over a
month now and with no sightings being reported from the "outside" it
is assumed he has gone on a (kaka) "OE" as some young birds do. We
wish him well and hope he remains safe.

More jewelled gecko arrived last month taking numbers to around 30
which is a good size for an initial population. A lucky group of
people on tour got to see one of these geckos up close just before it
was released. It is amazing how something so brilliantly emerald green
can disappear so completely once on foliage.

A clutch of young tuatara hatched from eggs by the zoology department
arrived mid March and are initially being housed in purpose built pens
built by local Paul Clements. Slater colonies are being established to
provide a food source for these engaging critters.

Unfortunately mice continue to be detected in several places and field
staff are busy adding more monitoring tunnels as well as setting
hundreds of traps in those problem areas.

Progress on the Visitor and Education Centre is on track and with the
roof structure and floor now in place its a bit easier to see how the
whole might look. I can also imagine a nice hot cuppa after a
"refreshing" winters walk while taking in the magnificent valley view!

The Ecosanctuary is open exclusively for guided tours at present.
Bookings are essential. Tours cost $20 adult $10 child with half price
for members. Tours are for 1½ - 2 hours for a maximum of 8 people per
guide. Come and see this fantastic forest restoration project in
progress, learn about the changes that have already been made and
support the development of the Ecosanctuary.

For enquiries the office number is 482 1755. For further information
on the Ecosanctuary, visit www.orokonui.org.nz or see our box at the
Blueskin Bay Library.

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Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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