Saturday, 23 October 2010

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

By Sue Hensley

The exciting news this month is that of the planned release of around six
Haast tokoeka kiwi into the sanctuary. They are juveniles raised on an
island situated in Lake Te Anau and over the next few years will hopefully
form breeding pairs. Their young, once big enough to defend themselves from
stoat attack, will be returned to their natural territory in the Haast area.
It is a big responsibility and privilege to look after some of these highly
endangered kiwi. There are only 300 birds left in the wild and although we
may not get to see them, I for one am looking forward to listening for a
kiwi call on a still, warm evening.

Equally exciting news is that after a blitz on rats, they are now at
undetectable levels – let's hope it stays that way. It has been an enormous
task for field staff over the last two months, fortunately this year helped
by kind weather.

Some trees, particularly the pittosporums kohuhu and lemonwood have flowered
prolifically this year. The fragrance of the latter in the forest has been
very noticeable. The flowers may be small but their nectar must taste really
good to kaka. I watched one spend 20 minutes in the canopy using its
sensitive brush tongue to gather nectar from the tiny yellow flowers while
ignoring the nearby sugar water.

The Visitor Centre and Café are open every day from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
A range of guided and self-guided walks is available. Our Facebook
page and will
keep you up to date with events.

Ā ā Ē ē Ī ī Ō ō Ū ū
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