04 June 2008

Island Birds to Thrive Following Removal of Invasive Stoats

Several species of native birds on wild Resolution Island, are expected to thrive following the removal of stoats to restore conditions more suitable for native flora and fauna.

"Small bush birds such as the New Zealand Bellbird, Tomtits and the kaka (a parrot), as well as the Kiwi, seabirds (Sooty Shearwaters) and the New Zealand Robin," said Murray Willans of the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Once the predatory stoats - an invasive species present for more than a century - are removed, "birds will recover very quickly," said Willans. "Bellbird numbers should double within 12 months."

Annual bird counts will be undertaken on the island to monitor recovery of bird species once an initial trapping project is completed.

Traps to be used to remove stoats from Resolution Island. Picture courtesy of the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

The trapping will get started in July, with the positioning of 2500 traps, and "will be completed by mid-August, after which about 90% of all the stoats should be removed," Willans said. "A team of approximately 14 people will be involved in the trapping checks, and all the stoats will be kept for analysis."

Resolution Island, comprising ca. 21,000 hectares is part of Fiordland National Park, and within the 2.6 million hectare Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area that was established in December 1990.

Stoats have already been trapped and removed from nearby Secretary Island, encompassing 8000 ha., also part of the park.

Both removal projects are financed by $7 million allocated in 2004 by the New Zealand government.

"The work was funded due to our growing confidence in the outcome and the work will provide a substantial island for threatened species management in the future," Willans said.

Following the trapping program on Resolution Island, traps will be "maintained on the island to stop re-establishment of stoats," Willans said, and will also be "maintained on the adjacent mainland to at least slow re-invasion."

Endemic New Zealand species such as the Kakapoo, a flightless parrot, and the Yellowhead are benefiting from other conservation efforts by the government in the Fiordland National Park environs.

No comments:

Post a Comment