Another historic conservation “first” for Lobster Company

Submitted by editor on

25 May 2017

Pāteke transfer to Resolution Island/Mauikatau

Twenty pāteke/brown teal were released today onto Resolution Island/Mauikatau in Dusky Sound, Fiordland. Sponsored by the Fiordland Lobster Company, the project will return one of the world’s rarest waterfowl to Dusky Sound after an absence of over a century.

Lindsay Wilson, DOC Principal Ranger (Biodiversity) said that the aim was to establish Dusky Sound’s first wild pāteke population since they became locally extinct in the late nineteenth century.

“In 1840, pāteke was our country’s most abundant waterfowl. A mixture of predation by stoats, and hunting, saw their numbers plummet.”

“Thanks to the support from key partners, establishing a new, self-sustaining, wild pāteke population could see numbers of this rare species continue to grow.” Lindsay Wilson said.

The pāteke were reared in captivity at sites throughout the country. They were subsequently taken to Peacock Springs wildlife sanctuary in Christchurch before being flown to Queenstown by Air New Zealand. Representatives from Fiordland Conservation Trust, Fiordland Lobster Company, Department of Conservation and Te Rūnaka o Ōraka-Aparima released the birds onto Resolution Island.

Fiordland Conservation Trust Deputy Chairman Murray Willans said the Trust was a proud to lead on this project and to support the pāteke transfer.  “We are grateful for the financial assistance from the Fiordland Lobster Company.

“Sponsors play a key part in the survival and preservation of our native species. Fiordland Lobster Company are stalwart supporters of conservation in Fiordland and actively participate in the transfer and release of birds they sponsor.”

“Significantly, this is another first for Fiordland Lobster Company in aiding the return of native birds to Dusky Sound. For the last three years they have sponsored the release of little spotted kiwi on Anchor Island/Pukenui. These birds are now breeding.” Murray Willans said.

The pāteke will be monitored for up to two weeks post-release and once a month during their first year. If the population settles into their new home, it is likely that more pāteke will be moved to Resolution Island.