BLAKE DOC Ambassador

The BLAKE DOC Conservation Ambassador award provides an opportunity for young scientists and conservationists to work on a conservation project in New Zealand, annually. The BLAKE Ambassador partnership with DOC started in January 2015. DOC partners with other organisations to manage New Zealand’s conservation through habitat protection and restoration programmes, biodiversity inventory and monitoring research projects. This year there will be two BLAKE DOC Ambassador Programmes: The Takahē Feedout Project - Burwood, and the Kākāpo Supplementary Feeding Programme on Whenua Hou / Codfish Island .

Takahē Feedout Project Burwood

The Burwood Takahē Breeding Centre was purpose built in 1985 as an incubation and hand rearing facility and is famous for historically using puppets and models to rear takahē chicks. An 80 hectare predator-free enclosure was built in the adjacent Burwood Bush (Red Tussock) Scientific Reserve to house juvenile birds as well as a few resident breeding pairs. In the wild takahē territories can vary from 5 to 60 hectares dependant on the quality of the habitat and the time of year. To protect the vegetation in the pens and to ensure sufficient nutritious food is available, takahē are fed special takahē pellets.The Ambassadors will be focused on assisting DOC's supplementary feeding programme, rebaiting traps, and infrastructure work such as track cutting or marking.

Time frame: Late March 2020

Kākāpō Supplementary Feeding Programme on Whenua Hou / Codfish Island

The Kākāpo Recovery team works to protect the critically endangered Kākāpo. There are only 149 Kākāpo remaining which are all located on predator free islands. The two main breeding islands are Whenua Hou / Codfish Island off the coast of Rakiura / Stewart Island and Pukenui / Anchor Island in Dusky Sound. DOC's vision is to restore the mauri (life force) of Kākāpo by having at least 150 adult females.

This Ambassadorship will be focused on assisting with DOC's Supplementary Feed out programme prior to the Kākāpo breeding season.

Staff and volunteers walk the islands most days, topping up feeding stations and monitoring how much each bird has eaten. Backpacks can weigh up to 20 kg at the start of each day, and the long routes often require travel over steep terrain in demanding conditions.

There may also be other work depending on the timing of the breeding season. The work is varied and could include:

  • Working with rangers and volunteers to deliver supplementary feed out programme
  • Having a regular feed out ‘run’ to clean and top up kākāpo feed stations and upload data from data loggers
  • Data entry
  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Checking traps as part of our biosecurity programme 
  • Assisting with the set up of nest camps (season dependant)  

Time frame: 27 November - 11 December, 2019


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