Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 23 January 2009 Contents 23 January, 2009 | Page 9
about 15 people got a rare
opportunity to see takahe in their
natural environment last week
and learn about the Department
of conservation’s (Doc) efforts
to protect the endangered native
as part of Doc’s summer nature
programme, a small group was
guided into the takahe special
area in the Murchison Mountains
usually off limits to the public –
on January 13.
Missy ogawa was one of the te
anau locals who jumped at the
chance to visit the place where
Dr Geoffrey orbell rediscovered
the takahe in 1948 and see their
“I’ve been 15 years here but first
time i have entry to Murchison
Mountains. it’s very nice,” she
Missy and her husband akihito
operate tutuko outdoor Guides,
a company specialising in
guided tramping for Japanese
visitors throughout the south of
the south island. she said the
summer nature programme was
an ideal way to learn more about
the Fiordland national Park and
she had found the day trip to
Lake orbell extremely enjoyable
“Doc staff always looked after
us. they explained lots of
things – takahe, geography. i
didn’t know a lot. it was good
she said urged local people to
take advantage of visiting the
takahe special area if Doc
offered the trip again.
“Most people in te anau are
involved with tourism and
Fiordland national Park. We must
know more and more,” she said.
“Local people must go if you can
walk steep hill.”
an open day at the Burwood
Bush takahe breeding centre
last weekend attracted about
40 people keen to see first-
hand the work being done to
protect the species.
the Department of
programme head Phil tisch
said it was particularly
great to see so many locals
familiarising themselves with
Community relations officer
Helen Dodson said all who
attended got a good look at the
set-up, saw the chicks being
fed and also some of the adult
the breeding centre is currently
nurturing 14 chicks.
the scenery was spectacular
and a highlight had been
seeing a takahe in its natural
environment, along with takahe
nests and hatched eggs.
The steep, four-hour, uphill tramp
was definitely worth the effort,
DOC community relations officer
Helen Dodson said the summer
nature programme had been
running for about 30 years and
the Lake orbell trek was usually
offered once each year. it was the
public’s one and only opportunity
to enter the takahe special area,
although in previous years some
tourism operators had also been
invited on a familiarisation trek.
the catch was that you had to
have a high degree of fitness.
Last Tuesday’s group fitted that
bill and the pace was good,
enabling plenty of time at the top,
the trek was led by ross curtis
who heads the Burwood Bush
takahe breeding unit. He took his
dog Fern who is specially trained
to find takahe. The group was not
disappointed, with two takahe
spotted and evidence of nests
and recently hatched eggs.
the group also walked past the
beach where Dr Orbell first saw
takahe footprints and had lunch
at the historic hut where he
camped, still used by Doc staff
working on the takahe project
about 100 takahe live in the
Murchison Mountains. the total
population is only 225.
Photos by Missy Ogawa
The view of Lake Te Anau
from high in the Murchison
Mountains, home of the
Those who took part in the Department of Conservation summer programme
walk to Lake Orbell faced a four-hour, uphill tramp.
The historic hut used by Dr Geoffrey Orbell who rediscovered
the takahe in 1948 is still in use today by Department of
Conservation staff working on the takahe project.
Lake Orbell in the Murchison Mountains, named after Dr Geoffrey Orbell who rediscovered takahe,
thought to be extinct, there in 1948.
Summer nature programme participants looking for signs of takahe among the snow
tussock at Lake Orbell.
A takahe nest with a hatched egg.
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