These whio (pronounced “fee-0”) ducklings were just a few days old when I took this photo. They were some of the lucky ones, hatching in a river valley where introduced predators were kept at low numbers due to the hard work of Department of Conservation staff (who seem to be as threatened as the species they protect). All of eggs and ducklings just over the hill where there was no predator control got munched by hungry stoats!
I know I’ve featured whio before on Wildlife Wednesday (the inaugural post in fact) but I have a special place in my heart for these bluest of blue ducks (and a lot of photos), having spent 5 years of my life working with them. March is Whio Awareness Month and I had great intentions of writing an enthralling post about the plight of the whio and the work that’s bring done to protect them. But it’s the end of March already and I have a week full of meetings and deadlines, so it will have to wait for another day. But luckily the good folk at the Department of Conservation and Whio Forever have been busy telling their stories. Head over to the Whio Forever website to learn more about project – a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Genesis Energy.
- Find out more about this unique New Zealand species and where you can find them
- Read what motivates whio rangers “Andy “Captain Whio” Glaser”, Tim “Duck Boy” Allerby, Andrew “Max”Smart and Ivan Rogers to get out on the river
- Learn how to catch a whio with the Brand Family
- Read some whio poetry or sing along to the little blue duck song
- Watch a little whio tv
- Enter the great whio adventure competition
- Find out what you can do to help
- Follow @whioforever on Twitter or Facebook
- Or read some really exciting scientific papers about whio (see below)!
WHITEHEAD, A., EDGE, K-A., SMART, A., HILL, G., & WILLANS, M. (2008). Large scale predator control improves the productivity of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Biological Conservation, 141 (11), 2784-2794 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.08.013
WHITEHEAD, A., ELLIOTT, G., & MCINTOSH, A. (2010). Large-scale predator control increases population viability of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Austral Ecology, 35 (7), 722-730 DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02079.x