Good Egg

21 Jun 2011

 A teacher on a Royal Society Fellowship is working on a ground-breaking project to release yellow-crowned parakeets sourced from captive breeders into our 2,000 ha Ark in the Park reserve.

Unlike many other birds, kakariki breed well in captivity however they are rarely used for releases into the wild because of concerns over their genetic background.

“There have only been two releases in New Zealand of a captive bred kakariki, so this is a pretty unique proposal,” says Royal Fellow Paul Carter.

“The advantages of sourcing the birds from breeders are manifold – it’s not only more cost-effective, it also won’t threaten the wild population. And we believe can also cut down the risk of genetic problems by sourcing the birds from registered breeders.”

It is hoped that a group of these parakeets will be re-introduced into the Ark in the Park as early as next year.

As well as working on the kakariki release, Paul ran the pre-release aviaries for last month’s whitehead release and has provided additional reporting on rat monitoring.

In July Carter will finish up his six-month scholarship along with thirteen other teachers who have been working at various science based organisations such as Leigh Marine Reserve, NIWA and Zespri.

The primary school science teacher from Glen Eden Intermediate decided to help out Forest & Bird after volunteering at the Ark over the past year.

Already Paul has been integral in sparking a number of green projects at his school such as weta hotels and freshwater monitoring, and after seeing the work at Forest & Bird he has a head-full of green ideas that he wants to action.

“I hope to bring in food-tables for overwintering tui and kereru; look at tree growth rates and start up a weather station that records the wind-speed, rainfall, humidity and temperature of the Glen Eden area.”

The London-born teacher who has a degree in analytical biochemistry has a colleague doing the scholarship in the second half of the year, so he is hoping they can collaborate on a number of new projects.