Kaka sighting highlights importance of protecting biodiversity

  • Published Date 05 Jul 2016

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) is anticipating successful outcomes from its work to restore native habitats with the nationally vulnerable kaka being sighted more widely across the region. A North Island kaka was sighted in the Wainuiomata catchment during this year's annual bird count carried out by GWRC's Environmental Science Terrestrial team - the first time since 1998. 

"This kaka sighting was really exciting for Greater Wellington Regional Council officers across many of our teams. The success of the Pukaha and Zealandia kaka regeneration programmes means this is increasingly more likely.  One bird sighting does not necessarily mean a nesting population, but we are hoping that the habitat is now attractive to this threatened native species," says Tim Porteous, GWRC Biodiversity Manager. 

"We see this unexpected sighting as demonstrating the importance of GWRC's efforts to protect habitats that can support our native plants and animals. This work is a collaborative effort at GWRC with our science and monitoring, parks and biodiversity teams and others working together towards achieving the goals of the GWRC Biodiversity Strategy. These combined efforts could result in the establishment of a kaka bird population which would be an amazing outcome."

North Island kaka birds continue to be a rare sight on the eastern side of the Wellington region.  Work at the off-shore sanctuaries and the region's two re-introduction sites of Zealandia/Karori Sanctuary and Pukaha Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre have seen numbers increase.  During the late 1800’s, flocks of a hundred or so North Island kaka were recorded in the Rimutaka Ranges at times, current estimates suggest a population of between 1,000 to 5,000 birds.  The biggest impact on bird numbers has been the reduction of forest area and an increase in predator numbers, particularly stoats and possums.

"Sighting one of these birds is always a delight, they are usually easy to spot as they move in small flocks and make loud calls when they fly above the forest canopy. We would love to hear from people who have seen kaka wild in our region."

"We know that North Island brown kiwi have recolonised the Wainuiomata catchment thanks to the reintroduction efforts of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust.  GWRC will continue working to support the biodiversity values of the site through the Key Native Ecosystem programme, which manages some of the best examples of pre-human ecosystems around the region. Through the programme GWRC controls pests and works to restore these beautiful ecosystems towards increasingly diverse and stronger native species populations."

Details of kaka sightings and photos can be emailed to: info@gw.govt.nz; this information will be added NZ eBird database.

ENDS

 Notes to Editors

Contact: Media phone: 021 914 266

 

Updated April 28, 2022 at 4:48 PM

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