Our protection projects
Blue Ducks have the capacity to rapidly increase in numbers when predators are controlled. Protection involves controlling predators along the margins of river, particularly during the nesting and fledging season, between August and January.
Since October 2008, we have established predator traps along the Tongariro River between Turangi township to the Poutu Dam, a distance of 21km. This is split into two sections. In the lower section between the Turangi township and the Prison Farm boundary (“Fence Pool”), 160 DOC 200 predator traps are spaced at approximately 100m intervals on either side of the river. Our traps are adjacent to many of the walking tracks are regularly checked by volunteers. The upper, white water river section sits within in a steep sided gorge and access is only practical by raft. Here we have 60 Henry self–resetting traps placed on small terraces above flood height. The Henry trap, manufactured by goodnature, is a potentially revolutionary advance in the control of small mammal pests. It is powered by a small gas cylinder, allowing up to 12 pests controlled with a single canister.
We estimate that there are now at least 7 pairs of Blue Ducks resident in the area we protect through trapping, with potentially 8 additional single birds. At maximum carrying capacity this could be as high as 20-25 pairs. The whole river and many of its tributaries where surveyed in 2009/2010 and 31 ducks in total were recorded.
We aim to increase the area of protected habitat by establishing another 60 traps along the Whitikau Stream, a major tributary with ideal habitat. This will increase the area protected from 21 to 27 km, meaning that potentially 30 pairs could be secure from predation.
The Department of Conservation controls predators along the upper section of the Whakapapa River from the Whakapapa Intake to the Ohinewairua Stream. We have added to this protection, through the establishment of 70 Henry self-resetting traps, a further 7 km downstream from the Ohinewairua Stream. Our aim is to work with locals to achieve predator control to the Whakapapa Wanganui.
The Department of Conservation controls predators along the middle section of the Manganui-o-te-Ao River from the Retaruke Domain to Faheys Bridge. We have increased this protection through the establishment of 50 double set DoC 200 traps upstream on private land. Our aim on this river is to have traps to a total of 250 traps in the headwaters of this river system.