Date: 06 August 2012
DOC ranger Mike Aviss with one of the 60 mohua moved to Resolution Island from the Landsborough Valley in South Westland
The Peregrine Wines mohua transfer to Resolution Island has been declared a success following regular reports of the small birds by hunters and trappers working on the island.
Sixty mohua were transferred to the island last year, from the Landsborough Valley in South Westland, through a Fiordland Conservation Trust sponsored initiative. The latest signs show the birds are settling in well to their new island home.
Resolution Island is often considered the birthplace of conservation in New Zealand as it was to here in the late 1800s that pioneer conservationist Richard Henry transferred over 500 native birds. Henry transferred the birds in an attempt to rescue them from the invasion of introduced predators. Unfortunately his efforts were thwarted with the arrival of stoats onto the island.
In 2008, DOC took up Henry’s mantle and began a massive undertaking to restore the island in Dusky Sound. With stoat control holding stoats to a low level, the transfer of mohua to the island marked a momentous step in conservation – the first return of native birds to the island in over 110 years.
“We didn’t expect that there would be any problems on Resolution Island as mohua transfers are now common with good success rates,” says Department of Conservation Ranger, Peter McMurtrie. “But, it’s fantastic seeing Richard Henry’s dream start to become a reality”.
On the most recent trip to Resolution Island, in July this year, mohua were sighted in small groups across the north of the island, particularly around the original release site at Disappointment Cove.
A special moment of the trip was watching mohua move through the forest feeding in a mixed flock with brown creeper, kākāriki and bellbird – a site that won’t have been seen on the island since Richard Henry’s time as caretaker in the 1900s.
Mr McMurtrie said that now DOC was confident mohua were doing well on Resolution Island, planning would begin for a second transfer to the island scheduled for this coming October. The second transfer will help to increase the number of transferred birds up to a level where a robust mohua population can establish on this large restoration island.
A reminder to visitors to predator free islands such as Resolution Island :
- If possible always have rodent poison baits or traps laid on your boat.
- Check all obvious hideaways (like dinghies, kayak hatches coils of rope) for any unwanted stowaways before you set off.
- When your vessel is moored on the mainland keep doors and hatches closed and screen vents.
- Rodents can use mooring lines to board and leave vessels. On multi-day trips use lines either adjacent to the mainland or rodent – free islands but not both.
Michelle Gutsell, DOC, tel: +64 3 249 0200, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.