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Tiritiri Matangi (New Zealand)

Open Sanctuary Translocation

(ASNSW Meeting - June 2013)

Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary helps to ensure the survival of many rare and endangered plant and animal species.


Morag Fordham
Bird Capture Coordinator
"Tiri" Guide

Until about the 1850's Tiritiri Matangi Island was inhabited by various Maori tribes. After 1850 the Government leased it out for farming and it was farmed right up to 1970/1971 until the lease expired.


Ray Walter
Former "Tiri" Lighthouse Keeper
Former Conservation Officer

The project was a Kiwi project and it was to plant the island, but when the planting was finished of course we carried on working on the island, and we were on the island for about 25/26 years. In the process the island has changed considerably of course and it was certainly a great change from being a lighthouse keeper to being a conservation officer, I can tell you that.

And translocation is a key bit in achieving this conservation.

Translocation is a very important part of the whole project. The original Management Plan, called for the planting of the island of course and as the habitat became available the introduction of rare and native birds was the answer.

I was a lighthouse keeper originally there and the lighthouse went automatic and I was offered the job of running the nursery there, at a retraining programme at the nursery there, with the Lands and Survey team and the nursery staff and started the project up there with the planting of the trees, growing the trees, collecting the seed and doing the original planting there.

FACT:
Tiritiri Matangi ("looking to the wind or the wind tossing about") was originally settled by the Kawerau-A-Maki Iwi.

WHAT IS TRANSLOCATION?


Morag Fordham
Bird Capture Coordinator
"Tiri" Guide

Translocation is when you move a species from a donor site to another site usually where the species originally occurred but has disappeared because of predators, loss of habitat, or whatever. If you are putting them back into that area it is usually where the habitat has been restored, the predators removed, and you can try and put those same species back into that area. It has become increasingly important to establish a robust population and genetics play an important part of that. You must have enough founder birds, or reptiles, and also in the case of Tiri where we are often using our birds and hopefully in the future our reptiles, you want to make sure that your birds, etc., are not inbred and that you've got a really healthy population there. At least then if some new disease comes into a population, some of those birds are going to survive, where if we have them all with a very narrow base, that could be enough to knock the population out. We've translocated 12 bird species onto Tiri and 11 of those have been successful. We have also had tuatara bought onto Tiritiri Matangi Island and Duvaucel's geckos and shore skinks, which is pretty exciting, because with we trying to bring in some of the species that would have originally been here.


Ray Walter
Former "Tiri" Lighthouse Keeper
Former Conservation Officer

The first bird that was introduced while I was there was the North Island Saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus rufusater) and they came from Kouvou Island.  We had 26 birds introduced, of those 26 birds there were 12 adult birds, that was six pairs and the rest were junvenilles. The wildlife service in those days transferred them around from island to island to some of the those islands in the Hauraki Gulf and Tiri was one of those islands that was recommended. They have bred very very well . In fact when they first arrived on the island they bred at about three to four times the normal rate in the first two years.  As the habitat got full they got a little bit shorter, so they regulated their own nesting programmes.  They are a dominant bird on the island and most probably the prettiest bird... or rather I wouldn't say the prettiest.... but the nicest bird on the island. They are very interesting, a lovely bird.

It is very important with our translocation that we have a very diverse range of not only birds, but insects, lizards and a whole host of other diverse species to sustain the ecology.

You have just been reading a partial transcript of the following video.  Be sure to watch the rest of the embedded video below from the Azizs TV's Channel on http://youtube.com.  

This presentation at our June meeting was made by Graeme Phipps as a background article to the Emerald Dove on Lord Howe Island, the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and Currawong and the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project presented by Rod Stapley.  (The "rodent eradication project" page is to be uploaded shortly and a link added as soon as it is ready for publication online.)

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