A snipe being fed glucose solution to avoid dehydration on
its trip from the subantarctic Snares Islands to
predator-free Codfish Island, west of Stewart Island. Photo
Newly-released Snares Island snipe are doing well in
their new home on predator-free Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, the
Department of Conservation says.
Staff report regular sightings of the birds following the
second-only transfer by Doc from the subantarctic Snares
Islands three weeks ago, which bodes well for establishing a
new breeding population, Doc's manager of outlying islands
Pete McClelland said.
''The birds are settling in well and should be ready to breed
next spring and summer. We're excited about the prospect of
this new population improving the chances of survival for the
The snipe, also known as tutukiwi, is about the size of a
thrush and has a long beak. It prefers to live on the ground,
rather than fly.
Snipe were once widespread throughout New Zealand but were
wiped out on the mainland and many islands by predators,
A total of 30 snipe were captured in hand-nets on the Snares
Islands and transferred by boat to Codfish Island before
being released on December 20. The transfer was funded by
Tokyo Channel Six, which had a film crew making a programme
about penguin behaviour around the Snares.
''This is great example of the department and commercial
enterprise working together,'' Mr McClelland said.
''The film crew get their wildlife programme and we get to do
our important work with species under threat.
''They were enthralled by what we were doing. They even took
time out from their project to film ours.''
The transfer was the second, he said. Birds transferred from
the Snares to Putauhinu Island off the southwest coast of
Stewart Island in 2005 had grown to an estimated population
of more than 500 birds.
It was hoped the newly-established populations would ensure
the survival and genetic diversity of the species, he said.
While individuals from the Putauhinu Island population could
have been harvested for the transfer to Codfish/Whenua Hou,
best practice was to go back to the original stock to
maximise the genetic diversity of the new population.