New motels keeping wetas safe from wekas

nstalling a weta motel on Lake Wanaka's Mou Waho Island are (from left) Eco Wanaka Adventures co...
nstalling a weta motel on Lake Wanaka's Mou Waho Island are (from left) Eco Wanaka Adventures co-owners Chris Riley and Lee Eadie and Department of Conservation ranger Kerie Uren. Photo supplied.
Mountain stone wetas are not the only creatures enjoying purpose-built accommodation on Mou Waho Island, in Lake Wanaka.

Geckos and cave wetas have also been checking in to the island's five-star weta motels.

Occupancy rates have been high since the island's mountain stone weta population moved in within a month of the 40 small wooden motels - designed and built by Mt Aspiring College students - being installed last year by Eco Wanaka Adventures and the Department of Conservation (Doc).

Doc ranger Flo Gaud said the wetas now had common (Southern Alps) geckos and cave wetas for flatmates and the three species had been cohabiting well. Juvenile wetas and geckos had been seen in the motels.

''We're thrilled the motels are benefiting three different species and that the animals are enjoying these safe havens, which provide protection from predators, such as the island's resident buff weka,'' Ms Gaud said.

It is the first time Doc has used motels for ground wetas such as the mountain stone species, which normally lives under rocks and logs. Doc uses motels in other parts of the country for tree wetas.

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