Thursday, 23 February 2012

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

By Sue Hensley

Great concern was raised earlier in the year when two stoats and one
weasel (all males) were trapped inside the sanctuary. However, it was
also great to know that the response plan worked extremely well. Like
other sanctuaries (Kapiti and Maud recently with stoats and Ulva with
rats) we know that pests will get in from time to time but the
important thing is that they are detected quickly and eradicated.
Issues with the culverts had been identified and temporary repairs
made. A major culvert upgrade is being planned. The latest round of
tracking tunnels showed no mammal pests other than mice in very small
numbers.

Detection devices to date have targeted the smaller mammals most
commonly associated with reinvasion but recently 24 very large
monitoring tunnels have been added in the unlikely event that a cat or
possum should find their way in. Happily the only prints of anything
large have been kiwi footprints!

Work has begun in preparation for the arrival of a pair of non-breeding takahe later in the year. A small open enclosure with a food
hopper is being built. This can be closed to enable field staff to
more easily catch the birds for health checks. The rest of the time
these birds will be free to roam at will enjoying the introduced
grasses and native tussocks planted for their benefit.

News and events can be found on www.orokonui.org.nz or on our Facebook
page. The Visitor Centre and cafĂ© are open daily 9.30 – 4.30.



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