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History of Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group Inc

The group was formed in 1999 after a public meeting resulting from concern about declining bird numbers on the lower Ashley-Rakahuri river. It was attended by 80 people representing the main river users plus interested groups and individuals. From 2002 annual bird surveys have been undertaken, along with regular predator trapping and awareness efforts. Since 2005 a comprehensive annual report describing activities and results has been written. Results indicate much improved public awareness, declining predator numbers (as a result of around 3500-5000 breeding season trap-nights annually) and stable bird populations (not declining). In 2012, the annual bird survey showed numbers of all species to be higher than the 12-year average, with the exception of black-billed gulls. Numbers of this species vary greatly, depending on whether a colony is present or not. The full range of bird species on the Ashley-Rakahuri river have been more continuously and comprehensively monitored than they have on most other braided rivers. The major objective for the future is to improve breeding success, and we have still much to learn about the reasons for failure.