Thursday, 23 April 2009

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

By Sue Hensley

This month has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for the
Ecosanctuary with the highs being the reintroduction of South Island
Saddlebacks and our Kaka chick fledging; the low being the crane
accident.

Forty Tieke/South Island Saddleback were welcomed into Orokonui from
Ulva Island in mid April. A large contingent of people from the Otago
University, DOC, and the Ecosanctuary worked on the translocation. It
has been a steep learning curve and valuable lessons have been learned
from it. These birds are the first to be seen on the mainland for over
140 years. Being a ground foraging bird they are very vulnerable to
mammal predation. They are not strong fliers and rarely move out of
forested areas. They are quite noisy birds with a loud ti-ek-ek-ek
call that can be heard from the perimeter fence. The bird survey team
on their fortnightly autumn counts were delighted to be able to add
another bird to their list.

Our Kaka chick has left the nest and was first spotted being fed by
mum several metres above the nest hole. It is already the same size as
its mother but easily recognisable as it is the only unbanded Kaka in
the reserve.

Intensive trapping and poisoning of the mouse population has continued
but results will not be known until the next monitoring round has been
completed in a few weeks.

On April 20th the crane working on full extension on the Visitor
Centre toppled over and crashed through the roof structure. Luckily
no-one was injured. On the face of it the damage does not appear too
severe although it has not yet been assessed professionally at the
time of writing.

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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