Takahē: Return to the wild

Department of Conservation —  30/08/2018

By Julie Harvey, Takahē Advocacy Ranger.

Ka tū te moho, Kia ora ake anō

The takahē stands, in order to live again

For nearly 70 years a group of passionate and dedicated people have been working hard to ensure takahē are never again considered extinct. Although the people have changed, the mission of returning takahē to the wild – having takahē roaming the native grasslands of mainland New Zealand – has always remained the same. Since rediscovery in 1948, Takahē Recovery has taken many forms and exists as one of the longest standing and progressive conservation stories in the world.

(Left photo) Dr R. Falla (left holding a takahē chick and Dr G.B Orbell (right). Takahē Valley, Fiordland. (Right photo) An adult takahē and chick. 📷: Sarah Stirrup

From people studying Takahe in the wild, to a 25-year period of incubating and hand rearing chicks, to growing the population to the breeding engine it is today, the population is now secured across a network of predator-controlled sanctuary sites New Zealand-wide. With the blueprint in place for successfully achieving significant population growth each breeding season, takahē numbers are on the rise. To see how today’s Takahē Recovery works in an egg-shell watch this short film – beautifully produced by Scott Mouat of ELWIN Productions.

Although releasing takahē into Kahurangi National Park is the biggest achievement in Takahē Recovery since their rediscovery – our work is far from over. With a growing population needing safe habitat to be return to, and large healthy populations the only sustainable solution for takahē recovery, now is a critical time to ensure takahē do not slip backwards towards extinction.

The Takahē Recovery Programme consists of a small dedicated team within DOC, in partnership with Ngai Tahu, our national partner Fulton Hogan, supporters Mitre 10 and New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation, and numerous volunteers and staff across many sites nationwide. All of us are working together to ensure this taonga species is successfully returned to the wild!

Takahē released into Gouland Downs earlier in 2018. 📷: Danillo Hegg

To keep up with news from the Takahē Recovery Programme sign up to our newsletter and to help support returning takahē to the wild you can sponsor one of the Kahurangi takahē or donate to the programme.

Until next time,

– Takahē Recovery Team.

One response to Takahē: Return to the wild


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