Blue Duck Project Charitable Trust

Friday, 11 September 2009

Three Hundred dead predators and counting … This has being the success to date since Turangi business people lead by Garth Oakden, Nick Singers and Craig Morey set up the Blue Duck Project Charitable Trust to protect Blue Duck (or ”Whio”) on the Tongariro River.  This is a great local project which sets out to protect this vitally important bird and at the same time offers synergies with local tourism operators.

 The project began in October 2008 with 160 traps set along both sides of the river 8km upstream from Turangi, in what will be a two stage process to trap the entire length of the river.  Volunteers check the traps regularly, and to date they have caught a large number of rats, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs and even a couple of wild cats.

Garth says one of the key motivations behind him getting involved is the fact that he has had a long personal and commercial interest in the river and it is great to be able to put something back into the river ecosystem. “As well as the rewards of being involved and protecting one of our important species, it also adds another dimension to the experience we are able to offer our clients. We can offer a unique experience where clients can feel part of the project and contribute by taking a trip with us, seeing the birds in the wild and learning a bit about their situation and the work we do to help out. Bringing Whio back to the river will be great for the birds and great for the town as well”.

WCEET is helping to progress stage 2 of the project, which will involve the installation of self-setting traps in the inaccessible gorges on the Tongariro River below the Poutu Intake structure.

Community members volunteering their time on the Tongariro River

Community members volunteering their time on the Tongariro River

Setting traps along the Tongariro River