A male Antipodes Island parakeet, which welcomed a new
female partner into his enclosure last week. Photo
The rare Antipodes Island parakeet population was given a
gentle nudge last week when two Queenstown birds were
introduced to new partners.
The introduction is part of ensuring there is an insurance
population of the birds, with only about 2000 left
world-wide. In the wild, the birds are found only on
Two new Antipodes Island parakeets flew into Queenstown on
Friday on man-made wings and spent the weekend getting to
know their new partners at the Kiwi Birdlife Park.
The park already has two birds and a captive co-ordinator,
whose job is to study the genetics of rare animals, matched a
brother and sister pair from a breeder in Auckland with the
park's Antipodes Island parakeet.
The park's senior wildlife keeper, Paul Kavanagh, said while
the wild birds on the island were doing well, it was
important to have an insurance population in case of a
disaster such as a fire.
A fundraising campaign to rid Antipodes Island of mice was
organised by New Zealand philanthropist Gareth Morgan.
With two new breeding pairs now living at the Queenstown
park, fingers are crossed for a successful breeding season,
most likely to be at the end of next year.
The recent spring-like weather has fooled both plants and
birds into thinking it was blooming and breeding time,
meaning some eggs have already been laid, and there was a
possibility more would arrive when the real spring arrived.
''We've already got brown teal eggs,'' Mr Kavanagh said.
The eggs would be used in the park's breed for release