Extremely low goat numbers in Egmont National Park

In July state-of-the-art thermal camera aerial technology was trialed as part of the search for the final remaining goats in the subalpine area of Egmont National Park. The good news was that the experienced thermal team did not detect any goats or see any sign of goats during the 30 hours of operational flying time. Hunting and local expertise was provided by staff from the Department of Conservation’s Te Anau and Taranaki offices, and a team from Te Anau Helicopters conducted the aerial operation and thermal detection work. The result from the trial indicates the…continue reading →

No detectable traces of 1080 in Kaitake Range water samples

On Thursday 31 October 2019 the final aerial 1080 operation was completed on the Kaitake Range. This was the second application over the 3000 hectare area which aims to completely remove possums from the range as well as reducing overall predator numbers to less than five percent. A total of 13 water samples were taken during both operations on both public and private water supplies within 24 hours of each application on the Kaitake Range. Of the 13 samples taken on six seperate sites after both operations, NO detectable traces of 1080 were…continue reading →

Predator control a success

Press release from Department of Conservation Native birds on Mount Taranaki have a greater chance of breeding success this season with high rat and possum numbers knocked down from the predator control operation in June. Taranaki Mounga Project undertook aerial 1080 predator control over 31,000 ha in Egmont National Park to reduce predator numbers and give threatened species such as whio and kiwi a chance to successfully breed and raise their young. This operation is part of a much larger multi-tool approach to predator control, which will one day allow the return of…continue reading →

No detectable traces of 1080 in Mt Taranaki and Pouakai Range water samples

Twenty-four water samples were taken on both public and private water supplies within 12 and 24 hours of the aerial 1080 predator control operation on Mt Taranaki and Pouakai Range. This operation was completed the last week of June. Of the 24 sampled sites NO detectable traces of 1080 were found. Laboratory analysis can detect 1080 in water at concentrations as low as 0.1 parts per billion (ppb) and the maximum amount of 1080 residue allowed in drinking water by the Ministry of Health’s is 2.0 ppb. This has never been breached. This testing was conducted…continue reading →

Making a difference in our own backyard

Over the last two years Year 10 students from Francis Douglas Memorial College have adopted a large part of Centennial Park in New Plymouth as part of the school’s stewardship programme. Led by teacher Tina Dalliston, 150 students have helped to make, set and regularly monitor 100 T-Rex traps along the coastline. “This ongoing work helps us to remind students that we all have an impact on others and our environment and we need to be conscious of how we manage that,” says Tina. DOC Biodiversity Co-ordinator Tim Sjoberg is grateful for Tina’s…continue reading →

Picture perfect

Every project has its characters and ours is Tony Green. His energy and passion for the environment are equalled by his amazing photography skills. He has taken some of the project’s most captivating images. His images, especially of whio, toutouwai and project volunteers, have featured not only in Taranaki Mounga publications and social media, but also in those of the Department of Conservation, NEXT Foundation and many local and international conservation groups. As well as taking impressive images, Tony has been volunteering for the project for more than two years, the first time…continue reading →

Monitoring gives good information on predator numbers

Pre and post predator control monitoring Taranaki Mounga and Department of Conservation have completed a number of monitoring projects in the lead up to the 1080 operation. Since mid-2018 320 separate rat tracking tunnel cards, 160 stoat tracking tunnel cards and a further 320 waxtags for monitoring possums have been set up across the Park. There has been intensive monitoring on three separate occasions since August 2018. We have accumulated 960 rat tracking nights, 6720 wax tag nights and 3360 stoat tracking card nights. Results indicated high predator numbers are evenly distributed throughout the Mounga. This has resulted in our team and volunteers setting up additional trapping…continue reading →

Pre and post-operation bird monitoring

Thanks to the efforts of the Department of Conservation, Taranaki Kiwi Trust and Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, three of our taonga species are being monitored as part of the 1080 operation. Toutouwai monitoring has been completed within the 1000 hectare ‘A24 block’ by the North Egmont Visitor Centre. The monitoring results have been mixed. Over a six-week period, dedicated volunteers and a team from Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust have been diligently tracking sightings and post-breeding behaviours of these birds. Thirty-four individuals (both banded and unbanded) were sighted within the block. The Department of Conservation are monitoring 20 whio…continue reading →

A team approach to biodiversity

Eighteen staff from across BTW Company Ltd’s New Plymouth office have been making a positive contribution to the biodiversity on the Mounga. In the last six months the company has provided opportunities for their staff to check and maintain 53 traps along a five kilometre loop from the Mangaoraka carpark by the North Egmont Visitor Centre. BTW Company Managing Director Grant Aitken says like many other community projects they support, staff are provided paid time off to participate. “We’re proud to be a company that supports the volunteering efforts of its staff and…continue reading →

Toutouwai spotted across Mounga

Toutouwai (North Island robin) have now been seen at Pukeiti, by the Ngāti Ruanui Mountain House, on the Tahurangi track and several times on the York Road track. This is great news given when we first released toutouwai in 2017 they had not been seen on the Mounga for over 110 years. We’re pleased to know how far they have dispersed, however other than Pukeiti, the other locations currently have low predator control measures in place, so we hope these birds are safe from predation. Since 2017 nearly 100 toutouwai were released into…continue reading →

A busy 2019 ahead

For 2019, Taranaki Mounga and many other groups and organisations are working toward an increase in targeted predator control. Kaitake Range As noted in our September newsletter, the Kaitake Range already has over 250 predator traps on the Range, thanks to the dedicated Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust volunteers. Our project, along with Taranaki Taku Turanga – Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, led by Taranaki Regional Council (TRC), are working closely in rural and urban areas around the Range, and with the many community groups in the area, to dramatically bring down predator numbers. In 2019, the…continue reading →

Virtual support from our citizen scientists

Mixing technology, conservation and education has proved popular for students at Omata School, Auroa School and citizen scientists from around the world. All these people are helping to identify predators in Egmont National Park and the Kaitake Range using open source technology. Called Zooniverse, the platform already has over 5,000 images from 36 sensor cameras loaded. Recently, more were uploaded specifically from our mounga. Stuart Bennett, Deputy Principal of Omata School says being amateur sleuths has helped grab the pupils’ attention on a serious problem. “Students seem to like the detective work needed…continue reading →

Collective aspirations for Kaitake Range

Bringing kākā and kiwi to the Kaitake Range is not a distant dream, but achievable through a multi-tool approach to restoring the biodiversity of this area. Seeing the forest flourish and having native birds like kākā visit gardens in Oakura is a goal we want to achieve. Our project along with Taranaki Taku Turanga - Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, led by Taranaki Regional Council (TRC), rural and urban areas around the range, and the many community groups in the area, are working hard to accomplish this target. A multi-tool approach to predator control will be conducted…continue reading →

Protecting our mounga enables toutouwai to return

One of the world’s most intensive rat and small rodent trapping networks is providing a safe haven for wildlife on Mt Taranaki, resulting in the release of more toutouwai / North Island robin back to mountain. The Taranaki Mounga environmental restoration project, Department of Conservation (DOC) and other partners have set up a network of 2,160 Goodnature A24 traps in a 1,000ha area on the eastern side of Mounga Taranaki below North Egmont. The A24 trap is a New Zealand innovation which resets itself up to 24 times per single CO2 canister. “The…continue reading →

A secret weapon in finding whio

Tai has been successfully sniffing out whio in Taranaki. A two-year-old male chocolate Labrador heading cross, Tai is one of the first Conservation Dogs certified to locate whio in the region and has helped to locate a record number of 64 whio chicks on eight rivers this season. The Department of Conservation’s (DOC) biodiversity ranger Joe Carson is thrilled with his effort and says Tai is their secret weapon. “He will find these rare native blue ducks in tiny holes and point to them. It was amazing to find 64 whio chicks. He…continue reading →

Record number of whio ducklings on Mounga

A record number of whio ducklings have been located on Mt Taranaki in what is proving to be a boom year for our rare native blue duck. 56 ducklings have been found by Department of Conservation rangers on the eight rivers that DOC surveys on the Mounga as part of the Whio Forever partnership with Genesis. DOC biodiversity ranger Joe Carson says on Monday 8 January three more young male ducks were released into the Waipuku Stream on the eastern side of Mt Taranaki, further boosting the whio population. “These three juvenile ducks…continue reading →

Great neigbours contribute to translocation success

As a tramper Jenny Kerrisk used to cover a lot of ground. It wasn’t till she began volunteering at the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust, and more recently helping Taranaki Mounga bring back robin to Mt Taranaki, that she learnt to take her time in the bush. “I come from a tramping background so a lot of my attitude was ground covering A to B, but now I’ve learnt to take notice of the bush and wildlife, especially birds, like robin, tieke, and hihi, they’re all my favourites now,” she says. After eight years…continue reading →

Penguin cam a true team effort

Since the launch of “penguin cam” in October thousands of people from New Plymouth and around the world have been able to watch a live feed from a kororā/blue penguin burrow at Ngā Motu Beach. Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society chairperson Anne Scott takes a look back at 20 years of advocating for marine conservation in the region. Anne Scott admits it was no mean feat to protect Nga Motu/Sugar Loaf Island’s coastline for future generations. “We were naive and had no idea it would take as long as it did but now…continue reading →

Volunteering provides connection with Mounga

Seeing native birds soar through Mt Taranaki’s bush has boosted Danny Robinson’s passion for conservation. ‘The mountain is special. I’m in awe of the huge trees and amazing bird life. The constant bird calls set your mind at ease,’ he says. Danny is one of a group of volunteers who have spent time monitoring toutouwai/robin on Mt Taranaki in the last couple of months. He ventured up the Mounga three times, looking for the birds with 17 other Taranaki volunteers. Danny was inspired to volunteer with Taranaki Mounga’s bird monitoring team by a…continue reading →

Toutouwai/robin breeding on Mounga

We are celebrating after news toutouwai/North Island robin are breeding on Mt Taranaki after being extinct from the area for 112 years. Recent monitoring in a 1000 hectare block of forest on the Mounga that has intense rat trapping located three pairs of toutouwai with chicks in their nests. The birds are among the 50 robins released into the area in April this year, and are the first species the project re-introduced. “We are ecstatic the robins have stayed and are breeding - it’s a testament to the exceptional work of the team.…continue reading →