Monday, August 30, 2010

Hutton's Shearwater Get Predator-Free Home

The Minister, visitors, supporters and Trust members are welcomed to the Hutton's shearwater colony on the Kaikoura Peninsula

The Hon Kate Wilkinson cutting the ribbon to officially open the newly established predator proof fence with some of the Trust members, Nicky McArthur, Teri Sonal and Dennis Buurman

Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson and Trust Chairman Paul McGahan planting a tree within the new Hutton's shearwater colony on opening day

Great news for the Kaikoura Hutton's Shearwaters.

Wellington, Aug 28 NZPA- Kaikoura has celebrated the building of predator-proof fencing for a new colony of Hutton's shearwater -- a seabird species unique to Kaikoura.

Hutton's shearwater are one of the few seabird species that have survived on the mainland of New Zealand. Today only two colonies are left.

Minister Kate Wilkinson attended the celebration at Takahanga Marae and thanked the community for their help.

With only two remaining breeding sites on the Kaikoura Ranges' mountain slopes, Hutton's shearwater faced a precarious future, Ms Wilkinson said.

The Department of Conservation has been working towards building a third colony and the Hutton's shearwater charitable trust raised $220,000 to build a 563m predator-proof fence around it on the Kaikoura Peninsula.

Between 2005 and 2008 about 270 chicks were moved to the 2ha site.

They were fed and cared for there until they fledged, with the intention they would recognise it as their home and would return there to breed.

A number of chicks were killed by cats which made the fence essential, Ms Wilkinson said.

"It's great to see the Kaikoura community working together to achieve conservation goals."

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