First teal ducklings on Campbell Island
But could they survive the harsh climate that was new to these captive and New Zealand-raised ducks, and equally importantly, would they breed?
In February 2005 a monitoring team from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) found 78% of the transferred teal alive, but no ducklings.
This was disappointing as they had bred in their first year when transferred from captivity to Whenou Hou (Codfish Island), a rat-free island off Stewart Island (a large island off the southern tip of NZ‘s South Island).
To build up numbers, a further 55 ducks were released on Campbell Island in September 2005.
The release team tracked 48 of the total 105 ducks released.
“The teal may not be able to fly, but are extremely fleet of foot, and the barest glimpse is all that may be seen,” explained Pete Morrin, who was part of the 2004 release team, documenting the release on video, assisting with duck husbandry and radio tracking, and acting as sea lion distractor in the dense scrub.
The team estimates that the numbers of sightings and recaptures represented the barest minimum of the birds surviving.
The 2004-released teal no longer had transmitters, as they had been designed with a weak link so they would fall off after 12 months, when the batteries became flat.
A brood of small ducklings and their parents were sighted swimming by the wharf at Beeman Base in January 2006.
This sighting was followed up in February by a teal monitoring team who, with the assistance of Percy the dog, found one small duckling with a female teal, three juveniles and two nests containing eggs.
Kaka parrot chicks in New Zealand: here.
May 2012. New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) staff ran a final check of the trap network on Ulva Island in the hope of declaring the island rat free again. Unfortunately, a rat was found in one of the traps during this check: here.
- Campbell Island DXpedition – All going to plan! (southgatearc.org)
- ZL9HR DXpedition to Campbell Island (southgatearc.org)
- Introduced predators – by the numbers (stuff.co.nz)
- Australia leaps far ahead in Marine Protected Areas (pacific.scoop.co.nz)
- Kakapo dung linked to rare plant (stuff.co.nz)
- Visit Great Barrier Island – an untouched wonderland (gorentals.co.nz)
- Dung from Critically Endangered Kakapo Parrots Could Save Endangered Plant (blogs.scientificamerican.com)