CONSERVATION SUMMER SERIES PROGRAMME 2018

All of these talks are free and will take place at 11am; the usual 360 Discovery ferry prices apply.

SPECIAL ZOO RANGER
ISLAND WALK & TALK
Zoo ranger Ashleigh Morrow hosts a unique walk
and talk session where she'll discuss the methods
used to facilitate successful wildlife relocations.
Focusing specifically on takahē and North Island
tīeke, Ashleigh will demonstrate various monitoring
and conditioning techniques during the session.
SAT 10:30AM - 12:00PM

SATURDAY 20 JANUARY, 11am
Orbell's offspring: exploring takahe recovery - Chris Steele

An introduction and discussion into one of our most unique and endangered endemic species, this talk will encompass the rediscovery of takahe after presumed extinction, through to present day population numbers and their distribution across New Zealand.  This will include historic natural ranges of the species, to modern day efforts by the Takahe Recovery Group that has aided the spread of the population throughout the country.

Special mention will be given to our resident takahe on Rotoroa island, and circumstances permitting, the latter part of this talk will involve tracking some individuals using telemetry in order for visitors to get a rare opportunity to view these birds 'up close and personal'.  If you are lucky you may spot the newest and cutest members of our resident family feeding with the adults.

Chris Steele has worked at Auckland Zoo for 7 years, specialising in native and exotic bird species. In this time he has worked alongside DoC and the Takahe Recovery Group to help manage the North Island meta-population of takahe.

SUNDAY 21 JANUARY
Rotoroa's native plant biodiversity: a botanical look at the island with Ben Goodwin

Despite extensive modification in the past, Rotoroa Island still features a diverse and interesting assortment of indigenous plant species, totalling over 170 species. This presentation will give a brief description of the native flora of the island - drawing particular attention to some threatened, unusual and noteworthy species. The talk will be followed by an informal wander through one of the, more accessible, botanically interesting areas of the island.

Ben Goodwin is a zoo-keeper with Auckland Zoo's Ectotherm team. Ben works with reptiles, fish, amphibians and invertebrates. His interests are not just limited to animals and spread broadly across all aspects of New Zealand's natural history.

SATURDAY 3 FEBRUARY
New Zealand's Reptiles; our best kept secret - Richard Gibson

New Zealand is home to almost one hundred different species of lizard. Who knew?

From coastal rock pools to snow-capped mountain tops, lizards colonised every available habitat and flourished prior to the arrival of people and their mammalian menagerie. Today however, lizards are among our most threatened but also most poorly known species.

This presentation will introduce you to the startling variety of lizards that still eke out a living in New Zealand, some of the zoo's programmes to recover threatened species and what islands like Rotoroa can teach us about lizard and tuatara conservation.

Richard Gibson is Auckland Zoo's Curator of Ectotherm & Birds and has more than two decades of experience studying, breeding and conserving reptiles all over the world.

SUNDAY 4 FEBRUARY
No island is an island: a look at Auckland Zoo's recent involvement with Rotoroa and other Hauraki Gulf islands - Ian Fraser

Successful conservation outcomes almost always involve collaboration between a range of people with a range of skills. For the past five years, Auckland Zoo staff have been applying their skills and resources to projects across the Hauraki Gulf - especially on Rotoroa Island where, in partnership with the Rotoroa Island Trust, they have been working to establish an ecosystem specifically designed to support environmental education. Come and learn about the Zoo's work in the Gulf, and what makes the Rotoroa Island wildlife programme a bit different.

Ian is Auckland Zoo's Field Conservation Manager, overseeing the Zoo's field conservation programme and Conservation Fund since 2013.

SUNDAY 17 FEBRUARY
Kiwi Operation Nest Egg: the circle of life - Natalie Clark

Operation Nest Egg (ONE) began in 1994 after research showed kiwi chicks were being killed by stoats at high rates but adult kiwi were not. In fact, 95% of chicks hatched in the wild were killed before reaching breeding age. ONE works by collecting eggs from wild nests, incubating and hatching them in captivity and keeping them in a crèche facility until they reach 1200 grams and have a higher chance of successfully defending themselves against stoats. Auckland Zoo has been involved in this programme since the late 90's and is now running its own ONE programme in conjunction with Thames Coast Kiwi Care (TCKC) and the Rotoroa Island Trust. To date, we have released 51 chicks through this programme and returned 15 sub-adults to Te Mata.

Natalie Clark has been a Bird Keeper at Auckland Zoo for 10 years. Natalie has been privileged to have been part of the Operation Nest Egg team during this time and she now co-ordinates Auckland Zoo's ONE project.

SUNDAY 18 FEBRUARY
Rotoroa's seabirds: the wanderers return - Claudine Gibson

Seabirds are the most threatened group of birds in the world. Being top predators, seabirds are crucial components of marine ecosystems and important indicators of change in marine environments. New Zealand is a global seabird hot-spot and the Hauraki Gulf Region is officially recognised internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) for seabirds. At their breeding sites, seabirds play a major role in influencing the ecology of terrestrial communities and ground nesting seabirds can also improve soil structure and vegetation succession. The eradication of introduced mammalian predators such as rats from many of the Hauraki Gulf Islands including Rotoroa, means these islands now increasingly provide a safe breeding ground for many seabird species. Auckland Zoo and the Rotoroa Island Trust are also using a number of conservation management techniques to encourage increased seabirds nesting on Rotoroa Island.

Claudine Gibson is Auckland Zoo's Field Conservation Projects Coordinator and helps looks after a portfolio of 45 field projects that Zoo staff are involved in. Claudine is responsible for our seabird work on Rototroa Island.

All events are free to attend and don't require reservation. Book ferry tickets through 360 Discovery Cruises or phone 09 307 8005.