Flight Path Introducing the orange-fronted kākāriki
Flight Path is a fundraising programme driven by Christchurch Helicopters in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC), to help save the critically endangered orange-fronted kākāriki.
The remaining populations of this native parakeet are found within a 30km radius of the beech forest valleys in Canterbury: the Hawdon, Poulter and Hurunui.
Their little-known status mirrors their tiny population, which is close to extinction. There are now fewer than 100 of these beautiful birds left in the wild.
These brave little locals face a multitude of challenges if they are to survive, but their greatest threat is predation from rodents. Nesting in tree holes, the orange-fronted kakariki are easy targets for stoats and rats, while possums also prey upon their eggs and nestlings.
Flight Path aims to raise funds to reverse their declining population in the hope that one day the orange-fronted kākāriki will flourish again.
The story so far...
At Christchurch Helicopters, we are passionate about our local environment. Our involvement with conservation efforts to date includes, transporting DOC staff to and from the secluded valleys of the Canterbury High Country, transporting birds for release and assisting with predator control.
Although DOC has been fighting against the decline of this native bird for the past 20 years, predator numbers continue to rise, particularly during beech mast. Masts naturally occur every 2-6 years and are triggered by a summer that is warmer than the previous one.
During masts, the very forest that protects these tiny birds becomes it's worst enemy. When beech trees flower, they produce vast quantities of seeds. In the past, this bounty of food would have led to a fantastic breeding season for the orange-fronted kākāriki. Unfortunately, they are now faced with the increased threat of invasive rodent species whom also breed prolifically during these events.
Christchurch Helicopters recognises that the acceleration of the Flight Path programme is critical to ensure the survival of this wonderful bird.