BY MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD, TIMARU HERALD
The multi-million-dollar predator control project, Te Manahuna Aoraki programme, which has the aspiration of turning the Mackenzie Basin into a predator-free zone, extended the trapping area in the basin from 26,000 hectares to 60,000ha since last November and over the summer, more than 2000 predator traps were laid in the Cass Valley and the Godley and MacAulay river areas as part of the programme.
On Thursday 45 kakī were released at Mt Gerald Station, in the Godley and Cass river systems. This followed on from the release of 66 into the Tasman Valley on Monday. Another 19 will also be released at Mt Gerald Station on Friday.
Speaking to those gathered at the release, Te Manahuna Aoraki chairwoman Dr Jan Wright said the trapping programme has covered 80 per cent of the kakī habitat in the Mackenzie Basin.
“This is a project that needed to be done urgently,” she said.
“Kakī used to be far more common than they are now, this area is their last refuge. If we can get them to survive here, the project will be regarded as a success.”
She said the kakī programme was the culmination of the first stage of the Te Manahuna Aoraki programme. Other projects included building a giant predator proof fence.
“I’m really excited about the next year or so of the project. We are going to give this a bloody good try.”