The Lazarus Effect – Protect one species and resurrect a whole forest

Ann Graeme shares her personal stories of native New Zealand birds and insects that have returned after community pest control is carried out for another species. She calls it the “Lazarus effect”. It rained in the night. My pack is heavy with rat bait, and I am following East 5, a bait line marked with pink ribbon, through the forest. Up, down, up the bank. It’s steep and slippery, and I pull myself higher, clutching the tree trunks. There’s the bait station. I open i...
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Newsletter for our Neighbours

Greetings, neighbors of Aongatete Forest. This is the first of more regular newsletters from us, to keep you informed about our activities. Pest Levels We regularly measure the pest levels in the Forest. Monitoring done in early February shows that OUTSIDE the controlled area, our traps showed a 65% incidence of rats, compared to 8% within our controlled area. In one part of our forest where we have recently deployed 50 or so Good Nature traps, our rat indice is now 0%. Possum levels out...
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October 2016 – the birds are back

Spring is here. The shining cuckoos are calling in the forest. They have spent the winter in the Solomon Islands and flown thousands of kilometres to breed here in our summer. The riroriro or grey warblers are singing too. The female cuckoo will follow their song to find a riroriro nest to lay her egg. But all is not lost for riroriro for after they have fostered the cuckoo chick they will nest again and raise their own chicks. Kotare the kingfisher is repeating his harsh squark-squark-s...
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March 2016 – Return of the rifleman

‘Bring back the birds’ is the slogan of the Aongatete Forest Project. In previous years the eggs and chicks of birds like fantails, robins and kereru were eaten by rats, stoats, feral cats and possums. Now that pest control is reducing the number of these predators, the birds are getting a chance to breed. We are helping to ‘bring back the birds’! An extra bonus which was not expected is the appearance of a new species – the rifleman or titipounamu. Of course riflemen must have always bee...
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November 2015 – A cuckoo in the nest

Now watch out, riroriro! Shining cuckoos are calling in the Aongatete forest. They have flown here from the Solomon Islands and the Bismarck Archipelago to lay eggs in the nests of riroriro – the grey warbler. The cuckoo lays her egg in the riroriro’s nest, tossing out one riroriro egg to keep the number the same. When the young cuckoo chick hatches it tramples or pushes out the riroriro eggs or chicks. Then it grows into a large and hungry juvenile, demanding more a...
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