Dunedin is reaffirming its status as the wildlife capital of
New Zealand thanks to a range of conservation projects that
are starting to pay off.
Birdlife around Dunedin has taken a big leap forward in the
last couple of years, with a resurgent tui population and
other birds now making a comeback.
Orokonui Ecosanctuary chairman Neville Peat said there had
been many sightings of kaka outside the sanctuary, and of
other birds that had not been seen in the area for more than
Work was now under way to ensure the ''halo effect'' from the
sanctuary could take hold outside the predator-proof areas.
Beyond Orokonui project spokesman Rhys Millar said many
landowners in North Dunedin and East Otago were putting a lot
of effort into protecting wildlife.
''There are some very proactive landowners in this area that
is for sure. You can see it linking with the Peninsula and
collectively working towards that Dunedin wildlife capital
''I think it needs a bit of work to hold that status but I
think if you look at the work that is going on in the
Peninsula and the work that is going on up here, suddenly
Dunedin looks pretty strong again.''
His project focused on the 600sq km area around Orokonui, and
would involve a management plan, including pest control.
Mr Peat said the sanctuary was only just getting started and
it would take decades to fill it with wildlife.
Some species like South Island saddlebacks would not survive
long outside the sanctuary, while other species could keep
their nests and chicks in the sanctuary but happily feed
''When we lose them we just assume they have been taken by
predators. They do [go missing] and it is a big job keeping
track of it.''
Species introduced to the sanctuary were monitored by the
University of Otago zoology department. Some birds were now
too numerous to track, while others were breeding
prolifically inside the sanctuary, including 144 South Island
robin chicks that fledged this year alone.
The next addition to the sanctuary was likely to be
red-crowned kakariki, which Mr Peat hoped could be introduced
early next year.
A public information session about biodiversity values in the
area will be held at 1.30pm on Saturday at Orokonui.