Doc Te Anau ranger Andrew Smart releases a pateke into the
Arthur Valley, on the Milford Track. Photo by Graham
More than 70 threatened pateke, or brown teal ducks, have
been released into the Arthur Valley on the Milford Track as
part of a $1 million dollar conservation effort to restore
birdlife and habitats along New Zealand's Great Walks.
As well as funding the pateke release last week, the Air New
Zealand Great Walks Biodiversity Project, in conjunction with
the Department of Conservation (Doc), supported increased
predator control along the track.
The density of stoat traps was doubled over the summer and
possum and rat control was being established in part of the
Clinton Valley, at the Te Anau end of the track.
The more intensive predator control will protect vulnerable
species, such as kiwi, which still exist in the area, and
allow other threatened species, such as pateke and takahe to
be returned to the area.
Doc Te Anau area manager Reg Kemper said the partnership
would mean New Zealand and international visitors would be
able to walk among some of the world's rarest birds on one of
the world's best tracks.
''The pateke are the first vulnerable species to be returned
as part of this partnership,'' Mr Kemper said.
''Next year, we're hoping to release takahe to the Milford
Track. This will be the first time in living memory takahe
have been back in the Clinton Valley.
''To be able to encounter one of the world's rarest birds in
its natural environment will only underline the international
reputation of the Milford Track.''
Air New Zealand head of sponsorship and community James
Gibson said supporting biodiversity projects encouraged
richer birdlife on New Zealand's signature walking tracks and
improved the overall experience for domestic and
The pateke released on the Milford Track are part of a
six-year project to re-establish a pateke population in the
Pateke were present in the Arthur Valley until the 1990s, but
were lost from the area due to predation, particularly
The first release of pateke into the Arthur Valley occurred
Pateke are the rarest waterfowl on the New Zealand mainland.
Re-establishing a pateke population on the Milford track was
an important step to secure the species nationally, Mr Kemper