Predator operation a boost for blue ducks

Date 19 August 2019

Have you seen the whio (blue duck) swimming and fishing in the Mangawhero River?

They’re one of the New Zealand’s taonga species, starring on the New Zealand $10 note, and one of the endangered species that benefit from predator control in the environment.

After aerial 1080 operations that take out possums, stoats and rats, whio enjoy bumper breeding seasons.

Along with the pekapeka (short tailed bat) and the mistletoe (highly endangered flowering plant which grows on beech trees) in the Rangataua Forest, the whio will get another boost this winter when an aerial 1080 operation targets predators around the forested base of Ruapehu.

DOC and OSPRI are collaborating to protect native wildlife and eradicate bovine TB from the region.

DOC is looking out for the endangered animals and plants, OSPRI is eradicating TB from wildlife by 2040 to stop them infecting farm animals.

After a 1080 operation in 2017 in Tongariro Forest, a record number of 223 whio ducklings were produced by 104 breeding pairs. They are re-establishing on the Mangawhero and other alpine streams due to regular predator control.

“DOC ranger Alison Beath says that three whio bred in captivity were released on the Mangawhero in March and were seen a fortnight later by the marae downstream of Ohakune. “

The 2019 operation will give the whio another chance to breed in peace and strengthen their numbers and chances of survival.

Find out more at

Whio web

Aerial 1080 operations remove predators so whio (blue duck) can improve breeding success.