Archives For translocation

It’s now over six weeks since the first 18 takahē took flight (so to speak) to their new home in Kahurangi National Park. Takahē Advocacy Ranger Julie Harvey updates us on the birds progress in their new home.

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DOC Communications Advisor Des Williams writes about the recent translocation of little spotted kiwi from Kapiti and Mercury Islands to the Hawke’s Bay mainland haven.

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Today’s photo of the week is a whio starting the journey to a new home in Mount Aspiring National Park.

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Today’s photo of the week is from last week’s mohua/yellowhead release in Eglinton valley, Fiordland.

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Moving juvenile kiwi from a predator-free crèche island back to their natural range isn’t as straight forward as you might think! DOC Biodiversity Ranger, Ieuan Davies, explains.

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Today’s photo shows one of the Coromandel brown kiwi relocated to predator-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf last week.

Kiwi being released on Motutapu. Photo by Kiwis for Kiwi.

It was the biggest ever single translocation of Coromandel brown kiwi and was done to create new diversity and future-proof the species.

Did you know?

There are 5 kiwi species:

  • Little spotted kiwi on several offshore islands and at Karori Sanctuary in Wellington
  • Great spotted kiwi/roroa in the northern South Island
  • Brown kiwi in the North Island
  • Rowi at Okarito, on the West Coast of the South Island
  • Tokoeka in the South Island (Fiordland, the Haast Range and on Stewart Island) and on Kapiti Island.

2 of the 5 kiwi species have distinct geographical varieties within them:

  • Brown kiwi have four geographically and genetically distinct forms: Northland, Coromandel, western and eastern.
  • Tokoeka also have four distinct geographical forms: Haast, northern Fiordland, southern Fiordland, and Stewart Island.

From Fiordland to Motutapu island, in the heart of Auckland, is a long way to travel in a day – particularly if you’re a flightless bird. Nine takahē made the journey on Sunday November 4.

The birds were captured early in the morning at Burwood Bush Takahē Rearing Unit, near Te Anau, by rangers who run Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue. They were placed in transportation boxes and driven to Queenstown Airport to catch an Air New Zealand flight to Auckland.

The birds joined passengers on board a regular Air New Zealand flight to Auckland.

DOC Takahē Recovery Programme Manager Phil Tisch and Mitre 10 Sponsorship and PR Co-ordinator Alison Rowland at Auckland Airport with the takahē.

DOC Takahē Recovery Programme Manager Phil Tisch and Mitre 10 Sponsorship and PR Co-ordinator Alison Rowland at Auckland Airport with the takahē

The takahē proved popular with the Air New Zealand stewards and passengers on the flight. They were thrilled to be able to see the rare birds – there are only 260 in the world – inside their boxes. On arrival at Auckland Airport the takahē were carried from the plane to DOC and Mitre 10 utes and driven to Devonport. There they were transferred to a DOC boat, Taikehu, and ferried to Home Bay on Motutapu.

Ngai Tahu representative, Stewart Bull, made the journey from the deep south with the birds. He linked with Ngai Tai and Ngati Paoa representatives to provide a powhiri for the takahē on Motutapu. The birds were then released into native vegetation planted by volunteers from the Motutapu Restoration Trust.

Mitre 10 staff and family at takahe release on Motutapu.

Mitre 10 staff and family at takahe release on Motutapu

Ella, a takahē released on Motutapu on August 27, 2011, curious about new takahē arriving on November 4, 2012.

Ella, a takahē released on Motutapu on August 27, 2011, curious about new takahē arriving on November 4, 2012

The birds join four other takahē released on Motutapu on August 27 last year. The first release marked the declaration of Motutapu and neighbouring Rangitoto – the islands are joined by a short causeway – as pest free. Ella, one of the takahē released last year, was seen at Home Bay checking out the action surrounding the arrival of the new birds.

A powhiri for takahē on Motutapu.

A powhiri for takahē on Motutapu

The translocation on November 4 was the largest movement of takahē outside Fiordland ever. The aim is to have up to 20 breeding pair on Motutapu. This will make it the largest population of takahē outside Fiordland. This is an important step in securing the survival of takahē as the other pest free islands providing a safe haven for the species – Kapiti, Mana, Maud and Tiritiri Matangi – are now running out of room for the birds. Motutapu provides a large safe site, with a good habitat for takahē, that will enable the overall population to keep growing.

Two takahē are released onto Motutapu Island.

Two takahē are released onto Motutapu Island

A big thank you to Phil Tisch, the Takahe Programme Manager, who travelled with the birds all the way from Burwood to Motutapu Island; Phil Marsh and Helen Dodson who helped trap the birds in Burwood; Claudia Babirat who filmed the whole transfer; Glen Greaves, the Takahē Productivity Manager, who helped out with the release; and Andrew Nelson and Hazel Speed from Auckland who put a huge amount of effort into organising the event on the day.

DOC’s partnership with Mitre 10 is crucial in the work to ensure takahē survive. Takahē were thought to be extinct until rediscovered in 1948 in the Murchison Mountains deep in the Fiordland National Park. DOC has been working with Mitre 10 to save takahē since 2005.