Date: 20 January 2020
Aaliyah Davidson, a 10-year old student at Kaniere School, won a “Ranger for the Day” prize package for her entry into DOC’s 2019 Conservation Week children’s competition.
As part of the prize, Miss Davidson and her mother Chloe Monachan visited their local Hokitika DOC office to get a tour of the breeding programme for the giant land snail (powelliphanta) before participating in a whio/blue duck release. Sixteen whio in total were released into the Styx, Arahura and Wainihinihi Rivers accessed via helicopter.
Miss Davidson says she won a dream, “When we got to our first destination, I got to carry the birds away from the helicopter, so it wasn’t so loud. The river was so nice and blue, we counted down from three and then opened the cages. They were so happy to be free. I learnt the meaning of whio which is ‘whistle’ because of the way they chirp. I had the best day.”
Genesis and DOC have partnered together in a five-year programme to secure the future of this threatened native bird. Operating under the name of Whio Forever this partnership is implementing a national recovery plan to protect whio breeding areas and habitat.
The support of Genesis is enabling DOC to double the number of fully secure whio breeding sites throughout the country, boost pest control efforts and enhance productivity and survival for these rare native ducks.
DOC runs Conservation Week each year to celebrate conservation in New Zealand. 2019 was the 50th year anniversary of Conservation Week.
The next Conservation Week is 5–13 September 2020.
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