Two Whio / North Island blue duck will be released on Taranaki maunga on 16th March 2017 as part of a project to re-establish a self-sustaining whio population.
The DOC staff supported by the Central North Island Blue Duck Trust, Whio Forever, iwi and local whio ambassadors have worked tirelessly on re-establishing a self-sustaining whio population within the Egmont National Park. The local population in the park was functionally extinct by 1945 due to stoats and rats. The population was reintroduced using birds reared in captivity, boosted by WHIONE (Whio Operation Nest Egg) and the survival of wild chicks from successful breeding seasons. The first successful breeding was recorded in 2005 after a trapping programme began in 2003. The predator programme in the park covers 7,500 hectares, using 1,160 double-set DOC200 traps to provide adequate protection for breeding whio. Traps are checked by DOC rangers and dedicated volunteers fortnightly over the peak breeding months when ducklings are most vulnerable. From extinction in the 1990s there are currently 33 confirmed pairs on the monitored rivers and a census conducted in 2015 using dog teams counted a total of 86 birds.
If you or your whānau would like to attend contact Sera Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 027 225 0025.