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Welcome to the latest

Cape Sanctuary newsletter.

The project has certainly
reached some very exciting
milestones over the last few
mo n t h s . S e a b i r d
establishment has begun,
with diving petrel chicks now
returning to breed after only
o ne y e a r o f c hi c k
translocations. We also have
good reason to believe that
the seabird enclosure now
holds young sanctuary
hatched tuatara a great
achievement for us. The
many hours invested by the
wonderful kaka feeding
volunteers have also come to
fruition with five chicks
hatched this season. Despite
the sadness of losing a
number of saddleback earlier
on, we have since been
encouraged by observing
saddleback fledglings at play.
It has certainly been a good
breeding season all round.
We congratulate Jay and
Claire Robertson on the birth
of t hei r baby boy.
Congratulations also to
Kahori Nakagawa on the
birth of Mia. Another couple
of conservationists in the
making we hope.
In February 2014 John
McLennan, Lou Sanson
(DOC), Liz, Hunter and I
spent a wonderful day with
Julian Robertson and three
generations of the Robertson
fami l y l ooki ng around
v a r i o u s s a n c t u a r y

On the staffing side, we are
lucky to have long standing
vol unteer, Paul Di ppie
volunteering to help oversee
the management and project
implementation at Cape

As always, a huge thank you
to the volunteer team -
without you the project
would not be as successful
as it is.
Andy Lowe
Diving petrel
return, Liz Lowe

The start of the year was
very exciting as a young
diving petrel chick was found
within the Seabird site. With
some closer inspection we
found signs of nesting in one
of the artificial burrows
(number 9 for those of you
who know). This is the first
evidence that diving petrel
chicks transferred to the site
in 2011 from Motumahanga
Island (Taranaki) have
returned to the site to breed.
There have also been signs
of diving petrel prospecting
in two other burrows. It is
comforting to know that after
many hours of collecting and
feeding, seabirds will once
again inhabit this wonderful
coastline and make Cape
Kidnappers their home. The
speaker calling system is
currently working overtime
to lure in grey-faced and
diving petrel which prospect
at this time of year. We
have placed small stick gates
at the entrances of the
tunnel burrows to see if they
get knocked down by any
seabird visitors.fingers
crossed. Unfortunately, the
transfer of mottled petrel to
the sanctuary from Whenua
HouCodfish Island on April
13th did not happen. The
island collection team only
located enough chicks within
the selection criteria to make
a transfer to the Poutiri Ao o
Tane site possible. This was
disappointing as much
preparation had been made
for their arrival, however we
at least will be ready for next
years transfer. The
programme for mottled
petrel is particularly exciting
as it will be the first time
that this species has been
transferred and hand raised
in this way. It will also be
the furthest distance, over
1000 km, that a transfer has
been attempted from source
to handrearing site. Bones
of mottled petrel have been
recovered from the Hawkes
Bay ranges and it is our hope
that the area will once again
be alive with the beat of
mottled petrel wings. We
are grateful to the people of
Murihiku, the guardians of
Whenua HouCodfish Island
( t he l as t r emai ni ng
stronghold for this species)
for their continuing support
for this transfer and it was
lovely to catch up recently
with Jane Davis and Marcia
Te Au-Thompson.

AutumnWinter Edition
Lou Sanson, John McLennan,
Julian Robertson and Andy Lowe
Keeping us safe
recognising sanctuary
workers for their Health
and Safety initiatives

At the sanctuary we take the
health and safety of our
staff, volunteers and visitors
seriously. In each newsletter
we wo u l d l i k e t o
acknowledge a particular
sanctuary worker for their
initiative towards ensuring
the safety of others. Sue
Dryden, who is the sanctu-
arys Kaka Coordinator, has a
huge responsibility in ensur-
ing the safety of a large vol-
unteer team. Individuals
travel daily to the aviary
(rain, hail or gales) to feed
the kaka and kakariki. Re-
cently Sue has shown her
vigilance in ensuring volun-
teer safety while on site.
The gravel road access to the
aviary can be challenging
and prone to tree falls. Sue
acknowledges her responsi-
bility by being constantly on
call to update volunteers and
staff on road conditions and
provide alternatives. A big
thank you to Sue. Golf
Course maintenance staff
also do a great job of re-
sponding at short notice to
remove tree falls.

Sue Dryden and Ned
In this edition;

Diving petrel
Keeping us safe
Tuatara breeding
Aviary action
Tieke update
Takahe and Little Spot-
ted kiwi programmes
Pest control
Bits and pieces
Page 1
Page 2
Tuatara breed
and skinks on
the increase,
Kahori Nakagawa

We are very excited by the
recent finding of tuatara
eggs within the Seabird site.
While doing the tracking
tunnel monitoring in March,
Travis found three hatched
tuatara eggs. This is very
likely to be the first time in
200 years that tuatara have
bred in Hawkes Bay.
Additional logs have been
placed to provide cover in
the area as tiny hatchlings
are vulnerable to aerial
predators and also their next
door tuatara neighbours.
Steph Price, a PhD student
from Victoria University
made a return visit to the
Seabird Site in November
2013 to continue her
research into post-transfer
physical changes in adult
tuatara. With the help of
some enthusiastic nocturnal
volunteers, Steph searched
inside the enclosure at night
when tuatara come out of
hiding (long grass and
artificial shelters make it
difficult to spot them at
other times). 19 were found
in three nights.
Tuatara are certainly doing
well here. Thank you so
much to the dedicated
volunteers who refilled their
water bowls over summer.

We also had another visit
from, Emma Dent (also a
Victoria University student),
who is studying interactions
between tuatara and other
species such as skinks and
tree weta at the Seabird site.
Using pit-fall collection traps
and weta monitoring houses,
Emma found over 200
speckled skink, several
common skink and 40+ tree
weta in 7 days.
Emma also located one live
female and several dead
female Cook Strait Giant
weta originally transferred
from Matiu/Somes Island in
March 2013. Finding them
dead is not unexpected as
they generally live up to two
years, breed, lay their eggs
and die.
Aviary action, Sue

August brought an air of
courtship to the kaka
aviary. Ned and Ngaio, our
resident kaka pair began lots
of soft cooing and beak
touching (not to mention
other activities). Before long
Ngaio had retreated to her
nest box where she was
obviously very busy rustling
around maki ng home.
Optimistically we hoped a
family was on the way but
not wanting to disturb we
waited and watched. Ned to
his credit became an
a t t e n t i v e p r o v i d e r
performing acrobatic feats to
feed Ngaio as she remained
deep in her box. Neds
appetite grew along with the
additional feeding demands.
He would often be waiting at
the door as we entered with
fresh food and would fly
down and ride on the tray
to the feeding station. His
desire for protein in the form
of freshly collected huhu
grubs went off the scale!
Volunteers responded to the
call to step up to twice daily
feeding and we were well
rewarded. At the end of
November, the first chick
emerged from the nest box,
another followed a few days
later and finally all five were
The chicks are now five
months old and the aviary is
much like a preschool; there
is lots of noise and activity
and then suddenly it goes
quiet as the chicks all take a
nap. It has been wonderful
watching them learn their
life skills from scratch. Their
noisy take offs and clumsy
cr ash l andi ngs have
entertained us all.
The breeding season for
kakariki began sooner than
for kaka and by early
September a clutch of five
chicks had hatched. The
attentive male of this pair
filled his day entirely with
feeding himself, the female
and the chicks. Before long
the same female went on to
lay eggs in a second nest
box. The male now had two
houses to provide for. Their
second clutch produced
seven chicks and a third
clutch, another four. The
second pair took a while to
sort out the process and
produced just one clutch of
three for the season. Again
it has been wonderful to
watch the chicks grow in size
and confidence as they
fledged and perfected their
flying techniques.

Once independent the chicks
were moved to the adjoining
soft release aviary and soon
after the hatch to the
outsi de opened. As
pr evi ous l y we ha ve
continued to provide food
inside and outside the aviary
to help anchor the chicks to
the area. This season we
have seen a number of un-
banded birds
Speckled skink (Oligosoma infrapunctatum) were consid-
ered to be locally extinct in Hawkes Bay until sightings at
Ocean Beach in 2009, three years after pest control began.
In the pest free 1.5 ha Seabird site, they are now flourish-
ing; in only 7 days, Emma found over 200. Some are al-
most the size of a young tuatara.
At the end of
September, 25 days
later and perfectly
on cue, we could hear
chick noises and only
a few weeks later our
first peak found five
healthy chicks
Sue Dryden
Ned and Ngaio will soon have
their home back to them-
selves. In the next few
months young kaka from
other breeding facilities will
arrive. These will be re-
leased with some of Ned and
Ngaios brood beginning the
process of establishing kaka
at the sanctuary.
Since my last visit
in October 2012, for
the most part it looks
like the tuatara are
gaining weight. Some
have gained an amaz-
ing 95g and grew up
to 9mm in a year
quite an achieve-
ment. Steph Price
Page 3

outside the aviary, evidence
that breeding from
previously released birds has
occurred in the wild. We
have also released kakariki
chicks from four breeding
pairs held at PukahaMt
Bruce. Batches of birds are
also settled into the soft
release aviary before being
set free. Thus, the wild
kakariki population is
Tieke update,
Kahori Nakagawa

The transfer of tieke
saddleback from Repanga
Cuvier Island has been a
rollercoaster of highs and
lows. After the speedy
capture and successful
transfer of 120 birds to the
sanctuary in May we sadly
lost a significant number
within four weeks after their
arrival. Mortality post-
transfer is not uncommon in
tieke even on predator-free
i sl ands and predat or
excluded fenced sites as they
appear to be stress prone
and some do not do well in
n e w e n v i r o n me n t s .
However, we also know that
predators, particularly rats,
aggravated the loss at the
sanctuary. We found 13 of
20 birds carrying tail
mounted radio-transmitters
dead. 11 of these were
killed by a predator and in
most cases a Norway rat.
Prior to the transfer tracking
tunnel monitoring had not
detected rats and bait take
in stations was low. The
deaths showed clearly that
conventional rodent footprint
tracking tunnel indices are
too coarse to accurately
identify the critical threshold
for saddleback persistence.
Saddleback live or die at the
0 to 1 % tracking range at
the lowest level of rat
Significant effort was made
by sanctuary staff and
numerous volunteers to halt
the losses; we in-filled with
additional bait stations (in
some places up to 25 m
apar t ) , and t r i al l ed
alternative bait types and
lures. An additional person
was also employed
for six months to
t a r g e t c a t s .
F o r t u n a t e l y ,
everyones efforts
were rewarded
with two and
possibly four pairs
known to have
bred successfully
with a number of
fledged un-banded
juveniles sighted.
There are also
around 10 single individuals.
We are planning a top-up
transfer from Bushy Park in
spring 2014.
The sanctuarys takahe
programme will get a boost
with three more pairs
arriving in May. They will be
released into a 130 ha
enclosure which has been
built behind the hind dunes
at Ocean Beach.
Oraka and Orehou, the
Seabird site takahe pair did
attempt to nest this season
but unfortunately were
unsuccessful. We suspect
they hatched a chick but this
was lost when very young.
This pair is now well bonded
and will be transferred to the
new enclosure. A recently
coupled pair arriving from
the south will be released
into the Seabird site.

In May the area will also be
home to little spotted kiwi.
Ten i ni ti al l y wi l l be
transferred from Long Island
in the Marlborough Sounds
to the sanctuarys Ocean
Beach enclosure. Little
spotted kiwi were once
widespread in Hawkes Bay;
sub-fossils have been found
nearby in Poukawa Swamp,
Napier and Kaweka forest.

We hope they once again do
well here and that Cape
Sanctuary can make a
si gni fi cant contri buti on
towards their long-term

The aviary is certainly remote and run on the dedication
of an amazing group of volunteers. We are extremely
grateful to all of you for committing your time and care
to these very fortunate birds.
In December we were contacted by a local family in Te
Awanga who had noticed a pair of saddleback in their
garden! This pair was quickly re-caught and returned to
the sanctuary.
Takahe and little spotted kiwi,
Tamsin Ward-Smith

View into the new takahe and little spotted kiwi enclo-
sure. Stretching up to the skyline, the area includes
plantings of native coastal shrubs and trees, rank grass-
land, young pine trees and mature native remnants such
as karaka, titoki, cabbage trees, ngaio, pigeonwood and
Little spotted kiwi are the smallest of the kiwi species tip-
ping the scales at just over 1 kg. They are now found only
on offshore islands.
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Page 4
Pest control,
Travis Cullen

The team continues to take
on the pest challenge.

Cats; 255
cats were
killed in
2 0 1 3
thanks to
the efforts of Marcel Powell
who shot 139 during his six
month stint night shooting.
Already in 2014, there are
36 less.

Stoats; 8 stoats were
trapped in 2013 (4 of these
were in January and Febru-
ary), while 10 have been
caught already in January
and February this year.

Ferrets; No ferrets have
been caught inside the sanc-
tuary since 2012 although
pressure continues on the
fence line and outer buffer
area. Nine in total were
trapped just outside the
fence in 2013 and 2014. One
unlucky ferret even made it
to the end of the predator
fence at Ocean Beach before
meeting its fate in the last
trap before entering the
Rabbits; The 900 ha area
targeted through a large
scale aerial poison operation
in July 2013 still remains
extremely low in rabbits.
Follow up control work by
Rural Pest Services will en-
sure that the level achieved
will be maintained.
Rabbit control over areas not
targeted during the aerial
operation began in mid-April.
This has involved boots on
the ground hand distributing
poisoned carrot. Control will
flow through the sanctuary
utilising paddocks that can
be rested from grazing.

Rodents; The battle to get
the last few rats continues.
A l t h o u g h
numbers are
extremely low
by the stand-
ard monitor-
ing method
(only one rat was tracked in
100 monitoring tunnels in
the forested areas in Febru-
ary) we know there are still
areas where rats are pre-
sent. A bait change from
Contrac (Bromadi ol one)
b l o c k s t o Ra t Ab a t e
(Diphacinone) paste is hoped
to entice the reluctant ones.
The peanut paste aroma is
known to be extremely at-
tractive to rats. Even volun-
teers are commenting that
the delicious smell makes it
rather tempting. 36 rats
have been caught in traps to
date, which is about half the
number we normally trap in
January and February.

T e c h n o l o g y
takes on the
pests, Paul Dippie

The days of soggy bait sta-
tion data sheets and hours of
data entry (for some of us)
will soon be over. Thanks to
some techno input, sanctu-
ary staff and volunteers will
soon be checking the 3500
bait stations and 1200 trap
boxes using a data tablet.

The small device will enable
station check information
such as bait take and animal
sign to be recorded as you
go. Once back to base, the
data from your travels will be
downloaded into a database
in the Cloud. This new sys-
tem will allow us to quickly
view the data, see visual hot
-spots and plan which areas
are due to be serviced.

The system is based on the
successful roll out of the pick
-up runs that the Lowe
Corp truck fleet recently
commissioned. It will also
provide significant safety
benefits. The equipment will
include a Spot GPS tracker
which will allow remote loca-
tion identification and text
messaging to say Im OK,
or Im OK but need assis-
tance, or HELP.
During the next few weeks
staff will test drive and refine
the new system ready to
train up volunteers.


There is something for eve-
ryone including tree plant-
ing, release weeding, feed-
ing kaka and kakariki, as-
sisting with seabird chick
feeding, transporting kiwi
eggs and chicks, checking
bait stations and building
trap boxes and bird burrows.

If you would like to know
more about volunteer oppor-
tunities at the sanctuary
please contact;



You can also visit the web-
site to self register;

Cape Sanctuary
Project Report

The sanctuary is proud to
announce that a six year
project report spanning from
2008 to 2013 has been com-
pleted. John McLennan has
documented the sanctuarys
journey and achievements in
a scientific and very readable
book. We hope that the re-
port can soon be accessed
online. In the meantime
please contact Tamsin if you
would like to borrow a library