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Tourism hotel chain steps in to help endangered black stilt

John Durning - 05/08/05

The plight of the kak´ / black stilt, the world╣s most endangered wading bird, has been considerably enhanced with the decision by the Mount Cook Hotel Collection to donate up to $50,000 to their cause.

Black stilt/kaki

Black stilt/kaki
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There are only 55 adult kak´ left in the world, and they live in a 100km area of the Mackenzie Basin from Lake Tekapo in the north to near Omarama in the south.

Chris Black, managing director of The Mount Cook Hotel Collection, said that his hotel chain had been looking at a suitable cause to get behind for some time and the kak´ seemed to fit perfectly.

Our four hotels are solely in the Mackenzie Basin, as is the kak´. Our plan is to give 50c for each room sold in the hotels from April 1 through to March 31 2006 as well as placing a number of donation boxes in the restaurants, bars and receptions of each of the hotels.

"We know from experience that the large number of overseas guests that we get through our hotels will contribute freely to such a great cause. It is also something the staff at all the hotels are excited about." he said.

The donations will go towards tracking devices for the birds when they are in the wild, and traps to help control predators.

Radio transmitter being fitted to a juvenile black stilt/kaki

Radio transmitter being fitted to a juvenile black stilt/kaki
Click here to view a larger version

"One of the big areas of concern for the Department of Conservation is the large number of deaths when these birds are returned to the wild. We know that predators such as wild cats, ferrets, stoats, and hedgehogs are a problem, and the transmitters will help us understand where, when and how the birds are being killed as we will be able to find them." he said.

Dr Richard Maloney, a Department of Conservation scientist with the kak´ / black stilt Recovery Project, has welcomed the donation. │The money provided by the Mount Cook Hotel Collection is an important contribution, and we are very excited to have a local business helping us in the recovery of kak´,▓ Dr Maloney said.

The Mount Cook Hotel Collection comprises the Godley Resort in Lake Tekapo, the Mackenzie County Inn in Twizel and the Countrytime Hotel and Heritage Gateway Hotel, both in Omarama.


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