$100k boost for kokako

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY / NGA¯ KO¯RERO TAIWHENUA -

Kokako will have a fight­ing chance thanks to a $ 100,000 in­vest­ment from ratepay­ers.

The South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mit­ted an an­nual $10,000 over 10 year years to the rare na­tive birds living in the Mokai­haha Eco­log­i­cal Area.

The fund­ing will go to­wards mon­i­tor­ing num­bers and ground and aerial pest con­trol ini­tia­tives.

The area is about 10 kilo­me­tres east of Toko­roa, en­com­pass­ing the up­per catch­ments of Puk­er­imu, Tik­i­tiki, Mokai­haha and Onuku­tauira streams.

‘‘This project is in line with coun­cil’s forth­com­ing bio­di­ver­sity strat­egy, which is be­ing put in place to im­prove the bio­di­ver­sity in our dis­trict, and to meet its obligations un­der the Re­source Man­age­ment Act,’’ en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing of­fi­cer James Piddock said.

Na­tion­ally there are fewer than 400 kokako pairs in iso­lated pop­u­la­tions.

The kokako pop­u­la­tion at Mokai­haha is iso­lated and has never been known to have dropped be­low 40 birds.

A cen­sus will take place in May and num­bers will be mon­i­tored in the com­ing years.

By pro­tect­ing the birds, it would help the dis­trict’s tourism in the fu­ture, Piddock said.

‘‘The benefits from this project in­clude recre­ational and eco­nomic devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for our dis­trict as there is po­ten­tial for this site to grow.’’

He said Jim Bar­nett re­serve started from a sim­i­lar project.

Photo: CH­ERYL MAR­RINER

SAV­ING GRACE: The fu­ture for kokako in the dis­trict looks bright thanks to a hefty in­vest­ment from ratepay­ers.

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