Rotary Club of Waimate and District Schools opportunity to observe the Liberation of the Black Stilt Juveniles/ Kaki’ in the Tasman river basin Glentanner.

Five years have passed since our last venture into the McKenzie country to observe the Liberation of the rarest wading bird in the World. To get the opportunity again was a privilege.

Last weekend’s weather 2nd, 3rd and 4th August did cast doubts as to what Monday the 5th would have for us and to if the liberation was to be delayed. Twizel was in sunshine and so to was the Tasman valley. In the week prior Waituna Creek school contacted the District schools with opportunity for two pupils from each school to attended, in total 29 folks, school children, Inner Wheel Club of Waimate members, Forest and Bird members, Rotarians and good friends from our Waimate District joined as a group to travel to Twizel and then onto Glentanner.

Cody Thyne of the DOC Black Stilt enhancement program briefed us all re the program. When the recovery program began there was approximately 20 birds in the world. Now in 2019 there are 129 adults in the world, 7 less than last year. 129 are that they are rarer than the Kakapo; evolution takes a long time when numbers are so small. Our Rotary Youth Exchange student from France Calix Benjamin along with our students were given the opportunity to open the boxes and release the 65 new juveniles. It is quiet humbling to realise that those stilts are now on their own, no adults to nurture them. Predator eradication program is taking place in the Tasman river basin in a huge scale with total eradication the goal. The adjacent land holders are extremely proactive as already the owners are beginning to see changes and wild life numbers increasing.

Following the release we all hiked back to the car park for lunch which gave us all the opportunity to photograph Mt. Cook/Aoraki. The Waimate group were given the privilege of then being taken into the flight aviaries where the next batch of juveniles are housed for release, this gave the children and adults a very good opportunity to ask more questions.

If you would like to see more on these beautiful rare birds please click on the attached link.