Tuesday, 22 March 2011

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY column

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

Mr and Mrs Roto, the original pair of SI kaka brought to the aviary and
whose calls have helped to keep wild flying kaka in the Ecosanctuary area
are now flying free. With 16 and 26 years respectively in captivity it will
be interesting to see how they adapt to freedom and how they fit into the
existing group. Kleopatra the new female and eventually a mate will be the
new anchor birds.

Over the last year every bit of the pest exclusion fence has come under
intense scrutiny and several issues to do with the skirt, the hood and the
culverts have been identified.

It is thought that mice may still be getting in from other weak points and a
Rhodamine B dye research trial is being undertaken to check this out. Those
who walk or run the outside perimeter track may notice pellets either under
the hood or in yellow plastic tunnels. Please do not touch these. The dyed
bait is non toxic and is eaten by rats and mice. Rodents trapped inside the
fence will be tested for the dye thus determining where these pests
originated from.

Michael Fay and his team of volunteers have been trapping outside the fence
to relieve pressure from mammalian pests. They have caught an interesting
lot of pests over their first two month period including 27 ship rats, 11
mice, 4 ferrets and 20 weasels. The latter were definitely a surprise as
weasels were not previously thought to be common.

Visitor Centre and café are open every day 9.30-4.30. All day self guided
walking, guided tours and annual passes are available. Keep up to date with
events on facebook and www.orokonui.org.nz.

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