20 Nov 2019

Predators destroy three Waitākere kōkako nests as breeding season begins

11:14 am on 20 November 2019

It has been a tragic start to the kōkako breeding season with rats destroying three nests in Auckland's Waitākere ranges.

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Hope remains that Kōkako in the Waitakere Ranges can still have a go at nesting this summer. Photo: Amanda Rogers

Two chicks and five eggs have been eaten at Forest & Bird's Ark in the ranges, with rat faeces found nearby.

Each nest was surrounded by a ring of steel, with traps set every five meters. Spokesperson Annalily van den Broeke said the fact rats were able to slip through was devastating.

"Kōkako became extinct from the Waitākere Ranges about 50 years ago," she said in a statement. "We reintroduced them in 2009, but they're just hanging on and we wouldn't want to lose them a second time."

It was a simlar story last year, when predators were able to sneak past more than 500 traps and 4800 bait stations around the ark.

Forest & Bird estimated that the number of rats in the Ark had doubled between February and August, and pests like stoats were also increasing.

Hope still remained that kōkako could have a go at nesting this summer.

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