Monday, 2 December 2013

OROKONUI ECO-SANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

No mice have been detected in the Orokonui Eco-sanctuary since May of this year.
All 1350 monitoring tunnels were activated in mid-November and the
only footprints on the ink cards were skink, gecko, insects and birds.
Although the main knockdown of pests occurred in 2008 it has taken
five long years of enormous effort and dedication to produce these six
months with no evidence of mice. Long may it last! The myriad
adjustments to the pest exclusion fence and the seven months it took
to make a grid of monitoring tunnels small enough to reliably detect
mice has been well worth it. This is an amazing result and Orokonui is
the largest mainland island sanctuary that has been able to achieve a
six-month non-mouse period.

Thirty Otago skinks were released into a fenced enclosure in late November.
Unlike the tuatara that mostly come out only on warm sunny days, these
critters can be seen out on the rocks even in cooler temperatures. However,
despite their striking black and gold patterns and their 20-30cm length
they take careful looking to spot!

A fernbird pair raised chicks close to a track which meant people got
to see these elusive birds up close as they flew between nest and
foraging places close by. The Visitor Centre has been the food centre for a tui who has found
the guttering and the outside blinds a rich source of food and it has
been great to see the aerial skills as it swoops and dives to catch
insects in flight.

Once more we’re doing the time warp and Christmas is just around the
corner – can you believe it? The visitor shop has a whole new range of
Christmas gifts, and remember that the venue is available for hire for
Christmas parties.

Orokonui would like to thank everyone who supported
the sanctuary in the very many ways that keeps this place humming
along. Best wishes for a safe and relaxing summer.

For other news and activities visit www.orokonui.org.nz or Facebook.
Cafe and Visitor Centre are open daily except for 24 and 25 December.

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