Ian Kusabs has been monitoring kōura in the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes for more than 15 years. In that time, he’s seen numbers decline dramatically in lakes Rotoiti and Rotorua where catfish have recently established. He has also gotten to know just how crafty this endangered native species can be at hiding, and how important these hiding spaces are when catfish are around.
The odds are against kōura with catfish, shags and trout all having a taste for their flesh. This makes protecting their habitats even more important and ensuring all new and upgraded lake structures consider them where possible.
Ian’s findings show that these creatures love whatever small space they can find, which means flat wooden retaining walls are not ideal, but they do love hiding under boat ramps.
Rock retaining walls are favoured by landowners (TALT and LINZ), DOC and Regional Council as they provide a habitat for native species such as kōura in the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes.