Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Orokonui Ecosanctuary


by Sue Hensley

Winter may be on us but a band of hardy volunteers remain hard at work assisting the field staff with a variety of tasks. Particularly welcome are those who doggedly work away at clearing the many kilometres of monitoring tracks. Up and coming arborists from the Polytech have also been busy in the sanctuary clearing pines which will open up habitat for native plants.The decomposing pine trunks will be great for huhu grubs and, combined with the deep pine mulch (and associated invertebrates), will make this area a rich food source for kiwi in a few years’ time.

The kiwi that evaded transfer from Te Anau last month through having a burrow deep under a rock was finally caught and released into Orokonui. Each year a number of young kiwi are raised from eggs taken from the wild, then protected on pest-free islands until considered large enough to defend themselves from stoat attack. However for some reason this has not been a good season for these particular young kiwi at Haast with several of them being killed by stoats. A decision had been made to transfer the remaining two but before this could take place they too were killed by stoats. This perhaps emphasises how difficult and ever changing and challenging managing threatened species can be.

There are still Matariki events happening in July. An art exhibition with music from Jackie Papanui will open on 5 July and for children there is Matariki for Tamariki with Tahu on 12 July. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays over the winter the café has a reduced menu of tea, coffee and slices. A full menu is available other five days of the week.

For information on events visit www.orokonui.org.nz or facebook. The Visitor Centre is open daily.

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