Date: 01 March 2012 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson has praised Genesis Energy Ltd for their work with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to increase numbers of the rare native whio (blue duck).
Ms Wilkinson visited Turangi's National Trout Centre today for the official launch of the Genesis Energy Whio National Recovery Project.
"Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the role they can play in protecting our environment and wildlife. Genesis and DOC have been working together for a number of years to help protect the whio and last year the company committed a further $2.5 million over the next five years to help secure the future of this endangered duck."
"The latest breeding season in the Tongariro Forest has produced 206 whio ducklings. This represents nearly a 10 percent boost to the national whio population, which is estimated at around 2,500-3,000."
Ms Wilkinson says this result can be directly attributed to the joint efforts of DOC and Genesis Energy in the Central North Island and reflects the huge potential of the partnership agreement in extending this work nationwide.
"The national recovery project will double the number of fully-operational secure breeding sites throughout the country, significantly boost pest control, and work to raise whio awareness."
"Genesis Energy's decision to throw its support behind national plans to save this rare and iconic bird is to be applauded.
"Partnerships with businesses like Genesis Energy complement work that DOC already has underway, and allows more to be done.
- With only around 2,500-3,000 birds left, whio are rarer than kiwi. They largely inhabit clean fast-flowing waterways in forested upper catchments, feed almost entirely on aquatic larvae found in turbulent water, and are an indicator of river eco-system health.
- Because of the need for fast-flowing waterways whio, unlike other native birds, cannot be secured from extinction on offshore islands. Genesis Energy’s investment means DOC can double the number of secure whio recovery sites throughout the country.
- This success of the latest breeding season can also be partially attributed to pest control, with an aerial poison drop having been carried out in October. The Genesis-DOC partnership will see more intensive pest control – both bait and aerial poison – undertaken as part of the whio recovery work.
- In addition to funding, Genesis Energy provides: technical expertise and staff support for recovery and monitoring work, and national advocacy support for the programme. This complements work that DOC already has underway, including: monitoring of key whio populations; survey work; protection of existing blue duck habitat; and pest control.
- Whio are recognised as an indicator species for the environmental health of New Zealand’s back country waterways – the presence of whio means a healthy river system.