CBAC Whio Methodology
CBAC project 1 - Eastern Whio Link.
Eastern Whio Link is a hunter and fishermen-led conservation project, situated in the upper reaches of the Waioeka Gorge (between Opotiki and Gisborne) with the goal to protect Whio (blue duck).
Whio is a true taonga (treasured) species of New Zealand. They are our only endemic mountain duck and one of three true riverine duck species worldwide, making them rarer than some species of kiwi.
Eastern Whio Link was established to protect the remaining population of this nationally vulnerable species. By aiding in their recovery, we are helping enable a breeding population to establish in the area and disperse into surrounding watersheds.
Operation of the CBAC.
A new trap costs $150 and a year's consumables are $35 ($185 set-up cost per 100m of Whio habitat). We set the CBAC price above the cost of consumables to make sure that each CBAC generates at least as much impact as mentioned in the description. All these funds over and above the consumables are invested into the project.
Due to the need to maintain ongoing funding for the projects, we have developed two credits: Whio A (establishment) and Whio B (maintenance).
CBAC Whio A - 100m of newly protected Whio habitat (first year): $200
10 WhioA/ $2,000 = 1km of new habitat protection established.
30 WhioA/ $6,000 = 3km (a Whio pair home range) of new habitat protection established.
CBAC Whio B - continued protection of 100m of Whio habitat (subsequent years): $50
10 WhioB/ $500 = 1km of habitat habitat maintenance for 1year.
30 WhioB/ $1,500 = 3km (a Whio pair home range) of habitat maintenance for 1 year.
Eastern Whio link uploads GPS coordinates for the proposed trap site for CBAC Whio A and CBAC Whio B. They decide how many trapping site establishments they want to list for sale versus how many maintenance years based on which one is needed more. For 2023 costs will be as stated here, but from 2024 Eastern Whio Link may decide to change the price.
This spending from CBAC funds is limited to
Purchase of traps.
Upkeep of motorbikes.
Lure and Gas purchase.
More about the Project.
The Eastern Whio Link (EWL) conservation work to date began in Waioeka Gorge, there was a remnant population of just four pairs that were used to breed. In mid-2020, EWL established more than 30km of trap lines – enough river to home 10 breeding pairs of Whio.
The project was given 250 traps from an anonymous donor whose own project had not gone ahead and received an additional 50 donated by one of our project leads. Volunteers and a small amount of sponsorship allowed EWL to bait and lure these traps.
Incredibly, EWL were able to achieve breeding success in our first year, which is typically quite rare. All four pairs successfully hatched chicks – a first on the river for many years – and from these pairs we have seen 20 Whio chicks fledge (more than tripling the current Whio population).
In their second year, EWL were able to fledge another 26 Whio Chicks and has since extended the project to include over 1,000 traps across 30,000 hectares protecting not only Whio but Kiwi, Bats and a large array of other forest birds.
While EWL needs to wait two years until these juveniles enter the breeding population, ongoing predator control will ensure they make it through.
With images posted online via social media channels and in print via articles in NZ OUTDOOR magazine, volunteer and sponsorship support for the project grew. EWL now has more than 100 active volunteers, including hunters and fishermen, as well as students who have come on board through our education programme.
Where we want to go next.
Given it is in the nature of juvenile Whio to disperse, EWL is looking to expand their trapping network to include the remaining 25km of Whio habitat available. This will protect our juvenile population and allow them to establish breeding territories of their own.
EWL have existing DOC community agreements to establish Whio projects in the Ruatahunga (North of Gisborne), which we hope to pursue in the coming years. This will go a long way to achieving our end goal of establishing one interconnected Whio population from Te Urewera through to the East Cape.
While working on the Whio project EWL discovered the presence of North Island brown kiwi, a species we had assumed disappeared long ago from this area. EWL has since worked closely with local landowners to establish a 4,000ha intensive trapping network focussed on stoats and wild cats around this remnant population and hopes to extend this protection to 10,000ha in the coming years.