HealthPost’s effort to bring back seabirds to Farewell Spit

Fluttering shearwaters, also known as pakahā, are a native species of seabird that are at huge risk.

Known for their long-distance migration, pakahā travel from their breeding grounds in New Zealand to the waters off the coast of Japan.

One important breeding ground is Farewell Spit, at the top of the South Island, where thanks to The HealthPost Nature Trust in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Manawhenua ki Mohua, 100 pakahā chicks were transported to the 3-hectare predator-proof Wharariki Ecosanctuary in Mohua Golden Bay on January 21.

Here they will be cared for by a team of trained community volunteers.

In New Zealand, fluttering shearwaters are considered to be at risk due to the impact of introduced predators such as stoats, ferrets, and cats, which prey on eggs, chicks, and adult birds. In addition, habitat destruction and human disturbance also pose a threat to the species.

During the breeding season, they nest in burrows on cliffs and dunes, laying just one single, precious egg.

The HealthPost Nature Trust is focused on recreating an environment where the seabirds can once again breed safely on the cliffs and dunes and other native species can flourish in the forests and wetlands. Conservation efforts, such as the translocation programme, aim to establish new, protected mainland colonies of these birds to help ensure their survival.

The HealthPost Nature Trust, established in 2017 by New Zealand’s largest online natural health retailer, HealthPost, aims to regenerate the environment and protect ecosystems in the Wharariki-Onetahua (Farewell Spit) area.

In partnership with the Department of Conservation and Manawhenua ki Mohua, the trust focuses on creating a habitat where native species, including seabirds, can thrive.

The goal is to translocate 250 pakahā to the Ecosanctuary over three years to establish a sustainable population.

The HealthPost Nature Trust and partners have invested years of expert planning and community volunteer work, including predator trapping, planting native trees, and creating nest boxes, to create a safe and suitable habitat for the birds.

Wharariki/Farewell Spit boasts a diverse range of habitats and biodiversity. In addition to the pakahā translocation, the Trust and partners are also working towards reintroducing the toanui (flesh footed shearwater) and pāteke (brown teal) to the area.

HealthPost’s mission is to have a lasting, positive impact on both people and the planet, and their efforts to regenerate nature through the HealthPost Nature Trust have earned them recognition as finalists and a judge’s commendation award in the Sustainability Business Awards in 2021 and 2022.

To learn more visit: https://www.healthpost.co.nz/about-us/healthpost-nature-trust

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