“It’s a huge team effort to protect whio across the Ruahine Ranges and we really appreciate this latest funding boost from DOC,” says Janet Wilson, chair of the Ruahine Whio Protection Trust (RWPT).
“The Ruahine boast the southernmost wild populations of whio remaining in the North Island, as well as kiwi. So this work to protect these fantastic birds is really important.”
The grant of $63,646 will be used to consolidate RWPT’s existing trap lines. This will include checking the traps they have are working as they should, replacing traps that require it, clearing trap lines that are becoming very overgrown and accessing the most remote areas by helicopter.
“We will also invest in smartphones that volunteers can borrow,” she says. “This technology will allow volunteers to send trap checks and whio sighting data directly to DOC’s database, rather than using notebooks and spreadsheets. This will save time and provide more reliable information.”
The Ruahine Whio Protection Trust (RWPT) has also been a successful recipient of the DOC Community Fund in previous years. The 2016/17 funding round resourced a kiwi survey through areas outside the known range of kiwi in the Ruahine Ranges using acoustic recorders. This survey revealed kiwi populations had extended further south than they had been previously.
The RWPT also received funding in the 2017/18 round to extend the stoat trapping network to include all areas that kiwi were found in 2017 and to increase protection for whio in these areas.
The Ruahine Whio Protection Trust raises funds to protect whio and support the wide range of volunteer groups carrying out ground-based predator control in the Ranges. The Trust also receives support for their work from the Central North Island Blue Duck Trust, Horizons Regional Council and other funding bodies, and welcome donations from the public.