Date: 15 March 2017
Keeping whio cool while undergoing health checks is now easier thanks to a generous donation by Taupō business Stevens Electrical Ltd of an air-con’ unit to the whio shed at the Tongariro Trout Centre.
Whio overheat quite quickly, especially when stressed, and need to be cooled. Health checks are important to ensure the wellbeing of the birds. Micro-chipping helps keep important data to build more knowledge to further help the species. However, this important process is stressful for the birds, which whio rangers work hard to keep to a minimum. The air-con is helping both the birds and the rangers to keep their cool.
Ranger Heather Morison explains, “Previously we were restricted to microchipping in the cool of the early morning. With the aid of the air-con it was a breath of fresh air to be able to undergo micro-chipping nine new whio arrivals without time pressure”.
Bill Durrant owner of Stevens Electrical says, “I saw a need and helped a friend solve a problem, being happy to help one of New Zealand’s endangered birds”. After the install, he experienced feeding the whio mealworms.
These captive reared whio are spending time in the whio crèche at the Tongariro Trout Centre learning to negotiate fast flowing water and how to feed for invertebrates from rocks, before their forthcoming release into wild white water rivers, the natural habitat they are adapted to.
Captive breeding programmes are one of several incentives to raise the numbers of whio in the wild. The support of Genesis Energy is enabling DOC to double the number of fully secure whio breeding sites throughout the country, boost pest control efforts and enhance productivity and survival for these rare native ducks.