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Update on the Kaharoa Kokako Trust activities

The Kaharoa Kokako Trust is preparing for a busy few months. We are currently engaging contractors to cut new lines to improve the bait station coverage across the whole protected area.  Despite excellent increases in kokako numbers the Trustees know that rat control could be much better which would increase the kokako population growth even further.

Following a planned two years of pest control the Trust intends to use 1080 in the bait stations this year as this option always produces the best control of rats, possums and stoats. Boundaries will be treated with other pesticides to provide a buffer zone to neighbours and roads. This pest control operation is timed to allow the kokako to successfully fledge their chicks.  Once out of the nest the birds are unlikely to be predated by these mammals. Not much we can do about falcon or harriers though but at least these are a normal danger that the birds have always had and are adapted for.

Another exciting programme being carried out in the next few months is the capture of another 10 birds by mist nets for release at nearby Otanewainuku forest.  There has already been an earlier release of birds from Kaharoa and Rotoehu into this mountain reserve which is also being protected for kiwi.  This is an attempt to top-up their founder population. Birds from the earlier release were already breeding within a few months of release but kokako are interesting birds in that they will not breed between populations due to dialect differences.  However the young of these birds at Otanewainuku will grow up hearing both Kaharoa and Rotoehu calls so will happily interbreed.

So with two major operations coming up volunteers will be busy clearing overgrowth and remarking bait line tracks and roads to ensure ease of access. If any locals reading this article are interested to help they can send an Email to kaharoakokako@gmail.com

Without the ongoing efforts of our volunteers, assistance from the Department of Conservation and funding support from a range of providers including PF Olsen Ltd, our Gold Supporter, none of this would have happened. Thanks PF Olsen for your ongoing support.

Kaharoa kokako trust