Kokako numbers rise in Waitakere

15 Nov 2010

New releases of kokako into the Ark in the Park in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges have brought the population to 22.

Department of Conservation teams caught 14 new kokako from Tunawhae
in the Pureora forest, South Waikato, and these have been released in five
separate releases in the Ark in recent months.

To reach the Ark’s allowed total of 30 kokako next season, more
funds are needed for their capture and monitoring.

All bar one of the new arrivals have transmitters attached so the Ark’s
volunteer band of trained operators will have lots of frequencies to tune
into each day.

Allowing for occasional forays by some birds, it seems the birds
are moving mainly in the central part of the Ark’s protected area, both the
older protected area and the newly managed area to the south and west of
the reservoir.

The first kokako were released into the Ark in September last year and
were among only around 750 North Island kokako remaining. The South
Island kokako subspecies was formally declared extinct in 2007.

The Waitakere Branch of Forest and Bird in partnership with the Auckland
Regional Council created the Ark in the Park open sanctuary in the Cascades
Kauri Park in 2003 to restore some of the lost natural glory of this important
forest area.

Many species requiring large areas of native forest had disappeared over
the last century, including kiwi, kokako, native falcons, long-tailed cuckoos,
bellbirds, kakariki and short-tailed bats.

Many reptiles and invertebrates have also been lost.

The Auckland Regional Council’s possum control allowed the forest
vegetation to recover, but the lost wildlife requires continuing control of
pests such as rats, stoats and wild cats.

For more information go to http://www.arkinthepark.org.nz