It is a delightful experience in the Ecosanctuary to spot rare native creatures in the wild. We are lucky that healthy populations of many native species were in the forest before the predator fence was constructed including Putangitangi (Paradise shelducks), South Island sub-secies of piropiro (tomtit), pipipi (brown creeper), titpounamu (rifleman - New Zealand’s smallest bird), kereru (wood pigeon), korimako (bellbird), tui, tahou (silvereye), matata (fernbird), piwakawaka (fantail), riroriro (grey warbler), skinks and geckos. In addition 11 species of native fish have been recorded in the Orokonui stream, not commonly seen in other streams and rivers, where introduced trout and salmon have greatly reduced their numbers. These populations of native birds and reptiles continue to build up in numbers with the reduction in predator pressure.
Our first re-introduction was the South Island kaka in 2008. These are flourishing and we have since brought in Jewelled gecko, tieke (South Island saddleback), toutouwai (South Island robin), Haast tokoeka (kiwi), takahe and tuatara. Our staff and volunteers are constantly working towards reintroductions of other threatened New Zealand species that were local to this area.Image courtesy of Dave Curtis
Thirteen rare native plant species have also been introduced and a new species of lichen has been discovered here - the only place it is found in the world.