Trap upgrade to protect endangered parakeet

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By Robyn Bristow

The critically endangered orange-fronted parakeet is getting more protection.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner have announced a major upgrade and extension to the trap network in Canterbury to protect the parakeet.

The orange-fronted parakeet is found in only three valleys on mainland New Zealand – in part of the Lake Sumner Forest Park and the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in Arthur’s Pass National Park.

It is the rarest of the five parakeet species, with the population now estimated at between 200 and 400.

A total of 500 self-resetting traps were installed in Lake Sumner Forest Park last week as part of DOC’s Battle for our Birds programme.

Ms Barry says the programme is aimed at keeping rat and stoat numbers down to a level where the vulnerable hole-nesting parakeet can successfully breed and the population grow.

“Conservation measures like these will help us become Predator Free by 2050 and vastly improve the prospects for endangered species,” she says.

All up 1450 Goodnature traps, which reset up to 24 times before needing to be reloaded manually, and 1700 DOC-200 trap boxes will be added to the network, extending the trap line by 206 kilometres, at a cost of more than $860,000.

Ms Wagner says 200 more traps will go into Hurunui next month and 570 into Poulter Valley around the same time. The DOC-200 traps will be installed in the Hawdon and Poulter Valleys in the next 12 months.

“DOC is using this latest technology to bring the trap network up to best practice standards. The extended network will also bring us closer to our 2025 goal of an additional one million hectares of mainland New Zealand under predator control,” she says.

Rolleston Prison offenders are building the boxes that hold the DOC-200 traps as part of DOC’s Good to Grow partnership with the Department of Corrections.