The Mohua population in the Catlins is expected to increase following last year's 1080 aerial drops in the area. Photo by James Reardon.The Department of Conservation announced recently that efforts to save native birds from pests have delivered promising results. Lucy Ibbotson and Hamish MacLean take a closer look at the impact in Otago.
Recent 1080 aerial drops near Queenstown and Wanaka have ''substantially'' reduced pest numbers and boosted native bird populations, Department of Conservation staff say.
Doc completed its aerial 1080 pest control operations over nearly 20,000ha in the Dart, Routeburn and Caples valleys in August last year and just over 7000ha in the Matukituki Valley in December.
A 1080 drop in the Makarora area was postponed but could take place this year.
Doc's nationwide ''Battle for our Birds'' campaign has resulted in more than 600,000ha of conservation areas being treated during the past eight months, using aerial 1080 drops to control rodents, possums and stoats.
In the Dart and Routeburn valleys, close to 100% of mohua nests monitored during January produced chicks and 97% of adults survived.
All key mohua populations received pest control last year so there were no non-treated areas monitored.
However, in 2006, nesting success without pest control in the Dart was just 47%.
Rat tracking percentages were drastically reduced in the Caples and Dart-Routeburn valleys from 26% to 6% and 20% to 0%, respectively.
Queenstown Doc conservation services manager John Roberts said ongoing stoat trapping, combined with the drop, had also enabled six whio (blue ducks) to be reintroduced to the Rock Burn Valley, near the Routeburn Track.