Funded by the Kea Conservation Trust, Wellington Zoo and “Name a Kea” donors.
Supported by DOC Fiordland.
The first Murchison Mountains kea monitoring will commence on the 24th January 2019. This site is unique in the South Island and has been chosen for the following reasons;
i) there is an extensive trapping programme in the Murchison Mtns as part of long-term management and protection of takahe. This is in contrast to the neighbouring Stuart Mtns study site which have minimal pest control to support whio in a very few of the valleys. This site therefore provides a unique opportunity to understand how important trapping is to kea productivity (although the Stuart Mtns had one of the highest numbers of kea caught during the January survey (over 40 birds), only two of these were fledglings raising questions of predator impact on nesting success in this area).
ii) DOC Fiordland have expressed a keen interest in supporting work at this site through provision of staff for ongoing tracking of any radio tagged adult females during subsequent breeding seasons and provision of field staff during annual surveys. DOC field personnel are very experienced at getting around the Murchisons which will be a major positive for kea work. DOC will also be able to follow up on radio tagged females via skyranger flights normally only targeting takahe.
iii) This site will provide an additional training opportunity for local DOC personnel which will enable ongoing future monitoring of kea locally.
iv) Resightings of banded kea will be valuable for both sites and provide an idea of kea movement between sites.
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