South Island Robins To Be Released On Adele Island

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Mon 4/May/09 2:32pm

South Island robins are due to be released onto Abel Tasman National Park’s Adele Island this week, leading off the return to the island of native wildlife that once lived there.

The release of robins as the first native bird species to be reintroduced to Adele Island/Motuarero-nui is a landmark step in the island’s ecological restoration and its establishment as a sanctuary for native species.

In a joint endeavour by the Department of Conservation and the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, at least 30 South Island robins/kakaruai are due to be moved over the next two days (Tuesday 5 May and Wednesday 6 May) to Adele from Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

The transfer of the robins is being carried out by DOC staff and funded by the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, a community conservation initiative set up to help to preserve and enhance the natural environment of Abel Tasman National Park and surrounding areas. The seven main Abel Tasman water transport and kayak operators are core members of the Birdsong Trust and are raising funds for it by collecting a Birdsong Levy from clients each time they cross the park’s foreshore.

DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said it was fantastic to be at the stage of restoring Adele Island’s native wildlife following stoat and mice eradication operations to make the island predator-free.

“Bringing back robins is a significant milestone in the ecological restoration of Adele Island and fulfilling the vision of it being an island sanctuary for native species.

“It is great to have the backing of the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust to achieve this and also the help of the Torrent Bay Pest Control Group. Both groups maintain trapping lines along the Abel Tasman Coast Track to prevent stoats swimming across to reinvade Adele Island.

“Robins were once widespread in Abel Tasman National Park but it is thought their numbers now are very low. They have not been recorded on Adele Island for 25 years.

“South Island robins have flourished when released on other island sanctuaries and it is expected they will do so on Adele Island.”

Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust chairman, Bruce Gilkison, said: "It's been one-way traffic until now, with predators moving in and native birds dying out. It's great that a local initiative is starting to turn this around, controlling the killers and giving the birds a fighting chance.

“It's a great team effort too - funded by tourism operators, and supported by iwi and other conservationists, including Richard Fowler, who is helping to keep alive Perrine Moncrieff's dream for this area."

Richard Fowler, a Birdsong Trust member, was made guardian of the Moncrieff Private Scenic Reserve on the Abel Tasman coastline by Perrine Moncrieff who, through her campaigning, was instrumental in the creation of Abel Tasman National Park.

Mr Rodd said anyone stopping at Adele Island is asked to help keep it safe for native species by not taking dogs or carrying pests onto the island.

“Boats, kayaks, bags and other gear should be checked before landing at the island to make sure there are no mice, rats, ants, spiders or other animals inside. Clothing, footwear and gear should be free of soil and plant material, including seeds and foliage, to prevent weeds being spread to the island.”
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