Project Kaka to restore birds

Last updated 11:32 04/11/2009
LOW NUMBERS: North Island kaka at Pukaha Mount Bruce.

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The Tararua ranges should resound with bird song as the result of a new pest control programme to be undertaken by the Department of Conservation.

Starting in spring next year, rats, stoats and possums will be controlled every three years in a 22,000ha belt across Tararua Forest Park  from Otaki Forks to Holdsworth Rd end.

The operation has been named Project Kaka -Tararua Nature Recovery to reflect its goal of restoring a native forest bird community to the park, including the native parrot kaka, plentiful on nearby Kapiti Island and at Pukaha Mount Bruce, but surviving only in low numbers in the park.

"We're looking forward to seeing and hearing more native birds in the park," DOC's Wellington Hawke's Bay Conservancy conservation support manager Dr Ben Reddiex said.

"So that trampers and other visitors can enjoy the restored bird populations, we've designed the project to include some of the most popular tracks and huts in the park."

Since 1994, the department has controlled possums within central Tararua Forest Park using aerial application of 1080 once every six to seven years.

The new regime will see the frequency increased to once every three years, with non-toxic pre-feed baits used to increase the effectiveness of the poison operation conducted a few weeks later.

"Because our overall pest control budget hasn't increased, this more intensive pest control can only be achieved by reducing the area in which we control pest," Dr Reddex said.

DOC is establishing detailed monitoring of birds, vegetation, weta and pest mammal densities both inside and outside the proposed treatment area, to learn more about effective management of Tararua forests.

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