By John Kearvell, Biodiversity Ranger – Orange-fronted parakeet
On Wednesday 19th December 12 orange-fronted parakeets/kākāriki karaka (9 males and 3 females) were released on Tuhua/Mayor Island. The orange-fronted parakeets were bred at the Captive Unit at Peacock Springs, by the Isaacs Wildlife Trust in Christchurch.
Air New Zealand came on board to help fly the parakeets from Christchurch to Rotorua where a helicopter piloted by Glenn Olliff from Oceana Helicopters Ltd, Tauranga then took the orange-fronted parakeets directly to Tuhua where they were released by Tauranga sponsor Fauna Recovery New Zealand.
The birds were all caught by 11am at Peacock Springs and all safely placed into their travelling boxes. Their flight left Christchurch Airport at 12.30pm, and on arrival at Rotorua VIP treatment from Air New Zealand whisked them direct to the waiting helicopter; a big thanks to Air New Zealand for the great treatment afforded to these critically endangered parakeets.
The helicopter left Rotorua and the parakeets were released onto the island by 3.30pm, in very sunny and hot conditions. They were released near the Green Lake in the caldera (Tuhua is a volcano) and all flew off fine. They were released in the same area as all other previous releases.
A grateful thanks must go to all those who helped with another successful transfer of orange-fronted parakeet completed. 83 orange-fronted parakeets have now been released onto Tuhua, over 8 releases since December 2009.