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“They were urinating on the bunks”

Edwards Hut. Photo: Michal Klajban, Creative Commons

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What’s the worst behaviour you’ve experienced when staying the night in a hut? Well, for visitors to Edwards Hut in Arthur’s Pass National Park it was probably Saturday night.

They were woken by a group behaving “unacceptably” and who urinated on the bunks inside the 16-person hut.

“It’s all good bro”, said one of the perpetrators who was stopped from relieving himself on a bunk in which someone was trying to sleep. Another hut user said a drunk man tried to pee on her father.

When the unfortunate victims reported the incident on Facebook they initially thought the antisocial party were members of a university tramping group, but that was later found to not be the case. Read more at the New Zealand Herald

Hump Ridge Track upgrade begins

Work has begun to bring the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track up to Great Walk standard.

Those who have already walked this amazing three-day trail on Southland’s south coast will know how fantastic it is, with everything from beaches and historic viaducts to sub-alpine tops.

And the work now being carried out is designed to make it accessible to more people. “This involves easing gradients, installing boardwalks, and future-proofing sections of the track against climate change and natural hazards,” says DOC Southern South Island Director Aaron Fleming.

“We have engaged engineers and technical experts to make sure the track remains sound, and factored in emergency alternative routes, including new swing bridges.”

It’s hoped the track will have Great Walk status for the 2023/24 season. Read more from DOC.

Kākāpō may well be living near Wellington

That’s if plans to set up a 3000ha ecosanctuary in Wainuiomata get the go-ahead. Zealandia’s founder Jim Lynch has just undertaken a feasibility study and concluded it would be ideal habitat for kākāpō.

“Virgin forest of this kind is incredibly rare in Aotearoa,” said Lynch, who thinks it’ll cost around $42 million to get everything set up.

“In Wainuiomata, we have an abundance of ancient rātā, miro, mataī, hīnau and tawa but, most importantly, rimu, which covers 85 per cent of the site. Kākāpō require abundant rimu to trigger and sustain their breeding.”

Kākāpō were last seen in the region in 1905, and there’d be room for 150 of the parrots, as well as Rowi kiwi and other threatened species of bird. Read more at RNZ

Concerns about native species in Te Urewera

There’s less optimism from conservationists, however, about the future of native species in Te Urewera.

This report by Stuff interviews conservationist Pete Shaw who’s concerned about the fate of birds such as the kōkako in the region.

He says Te Uru Taumatua, which took over the management of Te Urewera in 2014, is neglecting its pest management responsibilities and uses the example of attitudes towards possums.

“After eight years in charge they can’t figure out whether possums are a good or bad thing for Te Urewera,” he says. “This after more than a quarter of a century of hard-earned knowledge showing that possums eat eggs and kill adult female kōkako and kākā and other bird species on the nest.”

Climber banned and fined for bogus rescue claim

In the US, a climber has been banned from Mt Denali (6190m), the highest peak in North America, for five years after lying to rescuers. Dr Jason Lance was also fined $5000 and told to donate another $5000 to the Denali Rescue Volunteers.

Lance was part of a group that genuinely needed help when one of its members was seriously injured.
He wanted the whole group taken off the mountain but was told the helicopter wasn’t doing any more flights that night and they’d have to climb down.

That’s when Lance decided to tell rescuers that members of the group were suffering from shock and early stages of hypothermia. A helicopter was sent up the mountain, as this was deemed a medical emergency, but rescuers discovered Jason’s group had already started descending. Read more at US News