Guided walkers on the Milford Track have a greater chance of spotting the rare Pateke or Brown Teal Duck as they’re also known, following the release of eighty birds into Fiordland National Park last week (Thursday 24 February).
Ultimate Hikes, New Zealand’s premier guided walk company stepped up last year to become a co-sponsor of the Pateke Recovery Project. The project partners the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Department of Conservation (DoC) and Otago Community Trust as part of a nationwide programme to help prevent the endangered Pateke from extinction.
All eighty ducks were flown into the Arthur Valley area, near Milford, by helicopter en-route from Christchurch where they were released about 1.5km north of Lake Ada, close to the Milford Track.
As part of their long standing relationship with DoC and The Fiordland Conservation Trust, Ultimate Hikes plan to work together and reach the goal of a developing a self-sustaining Pateke duck population in the area by 2014.
General Manager Ultimate Hikes Noel Saxon said the success of the project so far was encouraging – “at last count the population of ducks had grown from just 660 in 2001 to between 2000-2500 because of the programme.
“It’s great to be supporting a project with such measureable results, even our staff are getting behind the fundraising efforts for these ducks.”
Ten members of the Ultimate Hikes team are planning to run the Routeburn Classic at the end of April this year. They will use this race as a fundraising event for the Pateke Recovery Project.
“We’re all very passionate about our wildlife and the well-being of our national parks at Ultimate Hikes. This environment is part of everyday life for our staff – it’s awesome they’re getting behind this project too.”
The ducks are being monitored during the first few days of the release and will continue to be monitored on a weekly basis until the Milford Track closes in late April. After that they’ll be checked fortnightly.
There is capacity on Ultimate Hikes Guided Walks for the remainder of the 2010/11 season. Weather from March through to the end of April is known to be some of the most beautiful and stable in the region which makes it the perfect time to experience this activity. The last walk on the Milford Track departs on 18th April and the Routeburn Track on 20th April.
Walkers wanting to book for the 2011-2012 guided walking season can take advantage of the opening of next years dates and early bird package for next summer which is available until May 31.