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Tech support for biodiversity at Waingake

22 Dec 2017

Tech support for biodiversity at Waingake

Our biosecurity and biodiversity teams have been joined by Ngai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, staff from DoC and QEll National Trust, and community volunteers including members of search and rescue and the tramping club, to deploy a new camera-based pest monitoring system at Waingake waterworks bush. 

Environment and science manager Lois Easton says this is the first time this method of monitoring has been used in the Gisborne district.

The cameras use motion sensors and infra-red to capture images of animals in the bush over an extended period.

“It will enable a relatively accurate estimate of the numbers and types of predators and other animal pests in Waingake,” says Ms Easton.

“We suspect that rats, possums, stoats and feral cats are among pest animals within Waingake that are contributing to the forests’ decline.

“It’s expected that these cameras will confirm their presence and give an indication of their numbers.”

The data captured will inform the ongoing work to manage pest animals within Waingake – a nationally significant bush area with 1100 hectares of intact podocarp–broadleaved–beech forest. The forest is the best of its kind in the eastern soft-rock lowlands of the North Island. 

During the deployment, the team were fortunate to also be able to experience some of the incredible biodiversity that makes Waingake unique. 

The team encountered native birds – riflemen, kereru, NZ falcon, whiteheads, tomtit, shining cuckoo and long tailed cuckoo. 

“We were particularly excited to find the rare Peraxilla tetrapetala (red mistletoe),” said Project leader Abigail Salmond, who designed and organised the monitoring programme. 

“Previously this rare mistletoe had only been found in the mountainous parts of the Tairawhiti region.  It’s very vulnerable to possum browsing so finding it here is another reason for us to target the surrounding area for intensive possum control.”

Red Mistletoe

Red mistletoe identified at Waingake Bush would be better protected by new technology being used to monitor pests

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