The milestone for Pateke this year is seeing the Northland flock count top the 2000 recovery plan of 750 birds.
Dangerous as it is to make any assumptions, it would appear that the natural spread of wild birds on this part of the Northland coast is benefiting from the expanding network of loosely linked conservation projects carried out by a wide range of operators, including DOC, NRC, Forestry, farmers, and individual land care groups. Birds that fly out of one trapped zone are likely to arrive in another.
Overall the graphed flock count results for the traditional Pateke strongholds - Northland, Great Barrier Island and Moehau on Coromandel, are tracking in the right direction, upwards.
In the words of our science advisor for the PRG, the Pateke Captive Breeding Programme has to be the most successful in NZ, and quite possibly the world. Breeders take a bow. To consistently make available for release upward of 200 birds annually, is no mean feat. Congratulations to you all.
As I see it there are two main drivers for Pateke recovery:
1) Groups engaged in habitat restoration and trapping.
2) The annual crop of captive bred birds.
As of now, these appear to be self balancing, although this may change as more, suitable habitat becomes available through conservation efforts. Not a serious problem to have!
Kevin Evans does an amazing job coordinating this effort. How he keeps it up I have no idea.
In 2014, 158 birds have been released into Puerua north east of the Bay of Islands, bringing release there to 288. It’s an area with few stoats, but they initially experienced problems with cats. They are now on top of this.
Another 12 birds were due for release this August.
Recovery Group Future
Following the recent DOC reshuffle, it would seem that Technical Advisory Groups will replace the recovery groups.
In English, we will see Groups designed to provide advice on large clusters of work around species and ecosystems.
It’s unlikely Pateke will be in a group of its own, but a possible special case may apply because of the captive breeding programme. We can expect it to shake its self out over the next 12 months.
Certainly it’s important that organisations like DU continue to foster close working relationships with people within the DOC structure. Build bridges, not enemies!!!