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Wildlife Management International Limited (WMIL) has provided the skills and methodology to implement a number of ground¬breaking conservation projects throughout the world.

The following is a sample of the work we have been involved in:



BIRD RESEARCH, MONITORING & MANAGEMENT

Our wide range of experience and skills has seen WMIL involved in a vast number of avian projects, from forest birds to seabirds, from species monitoring to translocation, WMIL has extensive bird research, monitoring and management experience.


Previous projects include:

Chatham Island tui transfer
In 2009, when the Chatham Island Taiko Trust decided to return tui to the Main Island of the Chatham Islands group, they enlisted the help of WMIL to provide the technical know-how to make it possible. In the first ever translocation of tui, WMIL developed a translocation procedure which has seen tui successfully re-established on Main Chatham. In partnership with local volunteers and Taiko Trust members, 14 tui were caught on South East/Rangitira Island and transferred to the Awatotara Conservation Covenant. Birds are still being observed regularly near the release site and have already started nesting in the Awatotara.

Seabird research
WMIL has been involved in a number of seabird monitoring programmes. A long-term research project on black petrel has been conducted annually since 1995 for the Conservation Services Programme (Department of Conservation). This work is directly related to identifying risks to the population, including interaction with fisheries and invasive species impact and monitoring the population. Nearly 400 burrows are monitored annually to assess population trends, with research focusing on bird capture, identification of adults, banding, measuring, sex determination, GPS and geo-locator logger deployment, population modelling and data analysis undertaken.

WMIL staff have worked with the Canterbury Museum to undertake research on albatross populations in the Chatham Islands. This work involves landing and camping on the desolate rocky outcrops these birds choose to breed on. Research involves population census, and geo-locator and GPS tracker deployments. The aims are to increase the knowledge of these species and to assess their population trends.

Hutton’s shearwater only breed in two colonies in the seaward Kaikoura mountains and WMIL is contracted by the Department of Conservation to monitor breeding success. These remote colonies are only accessible by helicopter, and each year burrows are monitored using a burrowscope to determine breeding success. This work has led to improved management of the existing colonies

Seabird translocation
WMIL have been involved in the translocation of burrow nesting seabirds, fluttering and Hutton’s shearwaters. The fluttering shearwater transfer was the first of its type, and the programme was developed by WMIL. Chicks were moved to a new colony and housed in artificial burrows, where they were fed a daily mixture of blended fish until they fledged. Seabird chicks are highly site faithful, returning to breed from where they fledged. To date over 20 pairs have returned to the new colony and are breeding. This pioneering methodology has now been used on a range of endangered seabird species.

WMIL have worked on a huge range of avian projects, for more information contact us at info@wmil.co.nz

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INVASIVE SPECIES ERADICATION, CONTROL & AUDITING

With our experience eradicating invasive species from a range of islands throughout the world, WMIL has the technical skills to assist any invasive species eradication operation, control programme, or to carry out an audit.

Incasivespecies

Previous projects include:

United Kingdom offshore islands, rat eradication
Since 2000 WMIL has led the eradication of rats from three key seabird islands in the United Kingdom. Each of these eradications has been in partnership with local conservation groups. WMIL has provided a core team of experienced, highly skilled operators to lead the eradication, together with an army of volunteers provided with our on-the-job training. First was Ramsay Island (2000) in Wales with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB); then was Lundy Island (2002-4) with the Seabird Recovery Project Partnership (RSPB, Natural England, The National Trust and The Landmark Trust); and more recently (2004-6) Isle of Canna in the Scottish Hebrides with The National Trust for Scotland. Due to strict regulations governing the use of rodenticides in the European Union, including not being able to apply bait by helicopters, a unique baiting design was needed. WMIL developed a bait station and baiting programme that minimised non-target exposure to bait whilst still ensuring eradication. All islands are showing significant ecological improvement following rat removal.

Ascension Island, feral cat eradication
Ascension Island was once home to over 20 million breeding seabirds. However introduced feral cats decimated their numbers until only a handful of birds hung precariously on a few cliff ledges and offshore stacks, including the endangered endemic Ascension Island frigatebird. In 2004, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Ascension Island Government, WMIL eradicated feral cats from the island. This is the third largest island (97km²) in the world to be cleared of feral cats, and the first with a significant human population (700 people). As locals were allowed pet cats both during and after the eradication (Ascension law requires all cats to be de-sexed), methodology had to avoid pet cats whilst targeting feral cats – a decidedly tricky proposition. During a two year campaign including trapping and toxins, all feral cats were killed – over 600 of them. Seabirds started returning to breed before the last cat was killed, and at present over 400 pairs of seabirds have returned to the mainland to breed. The future for Atlantic seabirds is looking much brighter.

St Helena, rat control programme audit
The community on the extremely isolation island of St Helena (Atlantic Ocean) was having problems with its rat control programme causing residents major concern. WMIL was contracted by the St Helenian Government and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to undertake an audit of the present control programme and implement improvements. The WMIL team assessed the current rodent control operation and instigated changes to improve the effectiveness of the control. Training was provided to local staff and a new GIS linked database established to assist this staff with programming, implementing and reporting on their control operation. This has led to better rodent control creating improved conservation and public health benefits.

European Islands, rabbit eradications
Key islands of conservation importance in Madeira and the Azores were overrun with rabbits. These invasive pests had caused widespread damage and depleted much of the island’s original plant communities. The WMIL team successfully eradicated the rabbits from both islands as the first step in a restoration project.

Pacific Island, rat eradications
Islands in the Pacific Ocean have been devastated by the impacts of invasive species. The islands of Oeno and Ducie (in the Pitcairn Island group) are some of the most isolated in the world and are key sites for breeding seabirds. However rats were causing significant harm, predating almost all the nests and causing population declines. The island’s isolation created significant logistical problems which WMIL overcame to successfully eradicate rats from the islands in 1998, since which time seabird breeding success has been reported to have drastically improved.

WMIL carried out a survey and eradication of rats on a number of small islands in New Caledonia and staff helped on the BirdLife International project to eradicate rats from islands in Fiji.

Indian Ocean islands, mice, rat, feral cat and rabbit eradication
The offshore islands of Mauritius and Rodriguez were the focus of considerable conservation effort in the 1990’s. The Mauritian Government contracted WMIL to eradicate invasive species from five islands. Pests included mice, rats, feral cats and rabbits. WMIL trained local conservation staff on species eradication and quarantine to enhance the skills of local workers, given that these eradications were the first undertaken in Mauritius.

WMIL have extensive invasive species eradication experience, for more information contact us at info@wmil.co.nz

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ECOLOGICAL SURVEYS, MONITORING & RESTORATION

WMIL have been involved in a wide range of environmental surveys, ecological monitoring and restoration projects. Our long association with natural habitats gives us a sound base during environmental surveys, monitoring and restoration projects.

environmentalimpact

Previous projects include:

Black-backed gull monitoring, Wellington
For Wellington International Airport black-backed gulls poise a serious strike hazard risk to aircraft and environmental monitoring of population numbers in the Wellington area is an important part of assessing that risk – and implementing control measures when warranted. WMIL provide the technical skills to monitor the population. Regular surveys of breeding colonies and feeding sites are carried out to determine the trends in population and provide the Airport with up to date information to assist with their risk planning.

Habitat assessment for possible frog translocations, Marlborough Sounds
To create additional populations of endemic frogs in the Marlborough the Department of Conservation needed a review of all potential release sites. With our long term involvement WMIL was able to develop habitat selection criteria to asses all proposed released sites. Detailed site investigations focusing on specific ecological requirements of frogs were undertaken. This provided the Department with a ranking for each site and recommended the most suitable sites to establish new populations of each frog species.

For further information on how WMIL can assist you in your ecological requirements contact us at info@wmil.co.nz

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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT & ASSESSMENT

WMIL have been involved in a range of environmental impact assessment reports. WMIL’s long connection with working in a wide range of eco-systems provides a wide base to assess environmental impacts. WMIL works with its clients to interpret the natural landscape and help create solutions to minimise the impacts of development on the environment.

environmentalimpact

Recent projects include-

Wind farm proposals, Marlborough
Wind farms can possibly have negative impacts on birds and care is needed when developing proposals to ensure that these issues are taken into consideration. WMIL have been involved with a number of small scale wind farm proposals in the Marlborough region. Our extensive local ornithological knowledge assisted interpreting the local movements or birds and identifying if there were any specific risks to the proposed development. Working closely with the client ensured that the proposal minimised any impacts on the environment and provided detailed information to help assist with the resource consent process.

Property development, West Coast
Conditions of resource consent during a proposed subdivision of coastal land on the West Coast required a study into the effects of the proposal on resident blue penguins. Again drawing on our ornithological background, WMIL were able to carry out a detailed survey of the breeding distribution of penguins in the wider subdivision area. This survey highlighted several areas which were significant for penguin breeding. Working with the developer, the proposal was adjusted to afford these birds protection, whilst still subdividing and developing other areas.

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ENDEMIC FROG RESEARCH

Working alongside the Department of Conservation, WMIL has been involved in endemic frog conservation and research in the Marlborough Sounds since the 1990’s.

endemicfrog

Previous projects include:

Maud Island frog research, Maud Island
Endemic to Maud Island, this endangered frog was thought relatively safe but little was known on its numbers or if current monitoring was effective. WMIL became involved in research to investigate the population size, structure and to learn more of this secretive species basic ecology. An important part of the research was determining if the present system of biannual monitoring was providing an accurate indication of the species health. This work has led to an improved understanding of Maud Island frog and an improved monitoring programme.

Hamilton’s frog monitoring, Stephens Island
WMIL has undertaken the monitoring of Hamilton’s frog on Stephens Island for the past five years. This work is focused on assessing the trends in the population and learning more on the ecology of this tiny relict population. WMIL have developed a system of identifying individual frogs from photos, a database to track individual frogs life history’s which is linked to GIS which can then for the first time map each frogs home range. This work is providing the Department of Conservation with detailed information to assist the recovery of this endangered species.

Species translocation and follow-up monitoring
Our knowledge of endemic frogs has been used to assess habitats for possible translocation, and to help capture frogs for transfer to these new islands to create additional populations. WMIL designed and developed the programme used to monitor the establishment of these new populations and track future population trends. Key to this work is determining if these new populations are breeding, and that these young frogs are being recruited into the adult population.

For further information on endemic frog research contact us at info@wmil.co.nz

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