Central North Island Sika Foundation Kaimanawa Whio Recovery Project Update – the first 18 months

All of the Goodnature A24 Stoat and Rat traps in stage1 the Kaipo River and stage 2 the Oamaru River were due for their full six monthly service in February which involves re gas and re lure of the 110 traps on the Kaipo and the 73 traps on the Oamaru.

We decided to do both trap lines in one day so six teams went in on the 14th February to get the job done. We now have permission from DOC to fly in and land at the top of the Oamaru trap line as well as the Kaipo line.

With the generous support of Helisika who fly our teams in free of charge, it just makes these days more manageable and enjoyable for our volunteers, cutting a 25km day in the river down to around 12km so a big thanks to DOC for allowing us to land at these locations and Helisika for their ongoing support, this is very much appreciated by the teams on the day.

We checked the counters at the same time and recorded 100 strikes on the Kaipo line and 37 on the Oamaru line, well down on previous numbers so this is a good sign. Whio were seen on both rivers and also seen on the day were Kaka, Karearea (NZ Falcon) and a morepork on the way out, along with our bat monitoring work confirming both long tail and short tail bats are in the area so good to see other native wildlife in the area as well.

The volunteers on the day were: Marty Noakes, Dave Hooten, Brohn Torckler, Stu Emmerson, Zavra Bryant, Gary Harwood, Mike Main, Brad Russell, McKenzie Russell, Adrian Livesey, Marty Devonport and Thomas Rillstone from Goodnature.   

The Kaipo trap line has been operational for 18 months now and has recorded a total of 1270 strikes, and the Oamaru 12 months, recording a total of 703 strikes for a total of 1973 strikes for both trap lines. Our dedicated team of volunteers have spent 784.5 hours on the Kaipo line and 436 hours on the Oamaru line for a total of 1220.5 volunteer hours, which has been spent setting up the trap lines and going in to check the counters, carry out maintenance and Whio counts over the first 18 months of the project.

None of this would be possible without our sponsors who have donated in excess of $50,000 to this project to date, with all of this money going to buying traps and the components needed to service the existing trap lines, so a massive thank you to all of the volunteers involved for giving up their time with some travelling considerable distances just to be involved, and all of our sponsors for their generous support over the past 18 months, with a special mention going to Poronui who allow us vehicle access through their property to the Kaimanawa Forest park boundary, saving a seven hour walk in and out, so without this vehicle access this project wouldn’t be practical.

This project is certainly a great example of a whole lot of people and organisations working together to achieve positive environmental outcomes in a reasonably remote area, something that everyone involved should be proud of as this is an important conservation project, not just benefiting Whio but all other native wild life in the area as well.

We will be expanding this project over time, but just want to consolidate this part of the project first then make plans to create more safe areas for our native wildlife to thrive in this area.

With thanks to our sponsors who have helped us make this this important conservation project a reality. If you have any queries, call Gary Harwood on 027 487 2304.