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Whitebait not as you know it - A rare find in Piha Stream

Published: 17 June 2016
  • From left to right, Josh Markham (NIWA), Briony Senior (Auckland Council Biodiversity Team) and Ben Goodwin (Auckland Zoo).
  • Giant kokopu
  • Shortjaw kokopu

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An exciting find for freshwater scientists

Auckland is home to five different whitebait species and all but one are threatened.

A surprising find in Piha Stream of two vulnerable species has been greeted with much enthusiasm.

Giant Kōkopu were found during a survey organised by scientists from Auckland Council’s Biodiversity Team, NIWA and Auckland Zoo. Short Jawed Kōkopu, another rare species in Auckland, were discovered in a neighbouring stream just a week later.

“Giant Kōkopu sites have been compromised by development and habitat loss, so the search for new populations has turned to unspoilt streams.”  said Matthew Bloxham, Senior Regional Advisor, Freshwater.

 “Although the stream contains limited prime Giant Kōkopu habitat, the range of native fish species that live here and the breadth of habitat made the find possible.” He said.

Human activities in the area separate the stream from the riverside wetlands that Giant Kōkopu favour living in. Streamside plantings will help return Giant Kōkopu habitat to Piha Stream. 

Head to our volunteer page to see how you can get involved in streamside planting and check out the Love our Lagoons project.

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Environment Waitākere