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Birds of a Feather Conservation Ball to benefit endangered NZ falcon

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Real Journeys 5th annual Birds of a Feather Conservation Ball will benefit efforts to save New Zealand’s at-risk endemic falcon - the kārearea - within its alpine habitat at Cardrona Alpine Resort.

Wayfare Chief Executive Richard Lauder says since it began the ball has raised almost $300,000 and this year’s ball, on Saturday 17 August 2019, sees two of the Wayfare group companies working together to help conservation.

"It will be the fifth time Real Journeys has laid on this unique ball and the first time that the conservation initiative of another Wayfare company is the beneficiary of the funds. 100% of ticket sales will go to the Cardrona Kārearea Conservation Project."

The endemic karearea, also known as the sparrowhawk, is New Zealand’s only falcon species and is a taonga within our environment. This species is also New Zealand’s most threatened bird of prey, with predation by introduced mammalian predators, loss of habitat and wide-ranging human impact all having an adverse effect.

There is a significant knowledge gap in the scientific understanding of kārearea in the South Island high country environment, and the magnificent Cardrona Valley has a small population of karearea, which presents an ideal opportunity to develop a science-based conservation approach in tussock grassland montane ecosystems. The project will include targeted observations of breeding pairs, along with leg-banding and tracking of individuals to gain insight into habitat use and territory size, information which Richard says is critical for creating a long-term, effective plan. "An integral component of this project is education and community engagement, with local school children, residents and visitors to the region being introduced to the kārearea through multiple platforms," says Richard. Extensive assessment of the impact of exotic predators will allow the development of a targeted predator control strategy. In combination with habitat restoration, this project will not only conserve this population but also develop knowledge to support the conservation of kārearea throughout the wider Southern Alps.

Only a few tickets remain for the event. Guests will enjoy canapes and live entertainment during a cruise on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, which departs from Steamer Wharf in central Queenstown, before sitting down to a specially designed three-course gourmet dinner created by Executive Chef Mauro Battaglia at the Colonel's Homestead Restaurant. The $295pp tickets also include live entertainment, complemented by a silent auction, mystery raffle and a live auction with auctioneer extraordinaire Brendan Quill - aka ‘Quilly’. Last year’s "Birds of a Feather" Charity Ball raised over $85,000 for Real Journeys Cooper Island Restoration Project.

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