Mike Watson12:17, May 14 2019
A rare native duck, which 'freezes' when threatened with danger, is to be released at a Taranaki wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the duck shooting season to draw attention to its endangered status.
Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve will be the future home for the pāteke, or brown teal, dabbling ducks when volunteers release 20 of the rare waterfowl on Thursday.
The sanctuary, 12km east of Eltham, has previously successfully released other rare native birds, including kiwi, tieke (North Island saddleback), hihi (stitch-bird), toutouwai (North Island robin), popokatea (whitehead), and recently, titiponamu (rifleman), to the pest-free area.
Twenty rare pāteke ducks will be released into Taranaki's Lake Rotokare Scenic Reserve on Thursday.
Sanctuary manager Simon Collins said the plight of the pāteke was not a well-known conservation story but highlighted the diversity of New Zealand's native species, and the significant challenge to restore the biodiversity.
Pāteke is an endemic New Zealand waterfowl species that was once abundant and widespread, Collins said.