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The Maungataniwha whio protection project includes establishing a secure breeding area for whio by exterminating predators and pests, conducting research into resident populations and monitoring breeding patterns.

In 2012 the catchment areas of the Waiau and Te Hoe rivers bordering the Trust’s Maungataniwha property was classified a Blue Duck 'Recovery Site' by DOC's Whio Recovery Group (WRG). This followed a census conducted by the agency, with input from the Trust and other interested parties, which revealed an “immensely encouraging” whio population density.

Similar whio densities at the our nearby Pohokura property, and duplicated in informal counts elsewhere at Maungataniwha, indicate that relatively substantial populations of whio are likely to exist across the southern Whirinaki and Te Urewera ranges.

A post-survey report issued by DOC says whio numbers in the Maungataniwha block now exceed the population density of many other North Island sites. South Island sites are naturally less dense so are not included in comparisons.

The WRG classifies North Island sites it monitors as either Security Sites or Recovery Sites. At 0.47 pairs per kilometre the Maungataniwha whio population density is approximately half the average of North Island Security Sites, but more than double the average density of Recovery Sites. 

Maungataniwha’s close proximity to the Whirinaki Security Site, little more than 15km away in a straight line, underscores its appeal as a Recovery Site.

DOC says the area’s whio are benefiting from the extensive predator trapping we undertake in support of the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project.  We operate hundreds of mustelid traps in the forest in partnership with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and have used our own funds to establish a network of trapping tracks. 

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