Whio, the native NZ duck is recovering from potential extinction

Two of the six whio released onto Mt Taranaki.

Two of the six whio released onto Mt Taranaki. Photo: RNZ/Robin Martin

Whio, the native blue duck which is emblazoned on the $10 note became extinct in Egmont National Park in 1945.

But the recovery programme – which started in 1990 – has now established a sustainable population in the region.

Watch the full Checkpoint report here:

There are only about 2500 whio left in the wild, making the shy ducks much rarer than kiwi.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Donna Worthy said Mt Taranaki was the perfect place to release whio.

“It’s a really good place to have them because whio are torrid ducks.They like fast flowing, clean mountain streams. They like rapids, they’re like the white-water ducks.

“So we’ve been releasing whio and we also have over 7000 hectares of protected area that’s protected with over a 1000 stoat traps, because stoats are the main predators of the whio.”

Ms Worthy said the six birds in the most recent release were bred in captivity near Christchurch at Peacock Springs and Orana Wildlife Park.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry, a DoC staff member and pupils from Stratford Primary prepare to release a whio into the Waiongana River.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry, DoC biodiversity ranger Gemma Green and pupils from Stratford Primary prepare to release a whio into the Waiongana River. Photo: RNZ/Robin Martin

They then had to graduate from a “whio bootcamp” at the National Trout Centre in Turangi before being released.

“It’s a big aviary that’s big enough for them to fly around and it has a stream in the middle of it with flowing water.

“That gets them used to moving over rocky terrain, paddling in the fast water, getting used to rapids, foraging for their own food and, yeah, it kind of gets them tough enough to be released into the wild.”

Read more:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/297769/wild-whio-back-from-the-brink-of-extinction

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/little-spotted-kiwis-travel-air-new-homes   Little spotted Kiwi to ‘fly’ to their new homes

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