South Island kākā have made an extraordinary comeback in a Fiordland forest following a pest eradication project.
In the mid 2000s the kākā population in Waitutu Forest was being ravaged by stoats and possums. Population surveys showed that males outnumbered females by an average of six to one.
However, a population sample taken in December last year shows a turn-around in the parrot’s fortunes with female kākā rebounding and young birds on the rise again.
Pest control in the Fiordland National Park, has included localised trapping and poisoning for stoats and possums. Planes have also applied 1080 over up to 30,000 hectares when pest numbers have been high due to forest seeding.
Annual bird counts at over 700 points in the forest also show an increase in other forest birds such as robin and kākāriki.
The pest control programme was supported by the Waitutu SILNA and the Nature Heritage Fund, which contributed $1.7 million for pest control.