Tuesday, 23 June 2009

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

Orokonui Ecosanctuary is celebrating the birth of its first two
Jewelled gecko. Eagle
eyed ranger, Kelly Gough, spotted the 6cm-long babies in mid June. Jewelled
geckos, like all New Zealand geckos, do not lay
eggs like almost all others in the world. All give birth in winter to live
young which is thought to be an adaptation for a cold climate.

Stone carver Moira Crossman, who has a workshop in Waitati, has joined the
team at Orokonui on a 6-month contract to carve two Kaka out of local stone
for the entrance to the Visitor Centre. Thanks to the DCC for sponsoring the
materials that will be used in the project. Previously Moira has created
beautiful public works based on native fauna that are on display in the
Waikouaiti Town Garden, Macandrew Intermediate and the University of Otago
Library. Moira has other community projects in mind including some soft
stone workshops later in the year. Dates and details for these will be
posted in the usual places.

We also welcome our new ranger Megan Blok, from Purakaunui. She is on a
6-month placement and is a recent graduate from the Conservation Corps
course.

Remember to keep an eye out for wandering (and banded) Kaka and Saddleback
and please ring the office with any sightings. One Kaka has been seen twice
up at Karitane and once at Warrington. Some Saddlebacks (very similar
to blackbirds although adults have a large reddish-brown patch over their
back) have been seen outside of the fence – one making its way appropriately
enough to the Waitati home of ornithologist Derek Onley.

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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