Readying for pair of takahe

Orokonui Ecosanctuary general manager Chris Baillie checks  the econsanctuary's takahe habitat....
Orokonui Ecosanctuary general manager Chris Baillie checks the econsanctuary's takahe habitat. Photo by Craig Baxter.

A pair of takahe will become the latest inhabitants of Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

The econsanctuary had received approval to keep the "advocacy takahe", which would arrive in March, operations manager Chris Baillie said.

"We are really looking forward to that."

The pair were not breeding birds but were considered to be important in raising awareness of the plight of the species, she said.

Takahe were among the list of flora and fauna that existed in the area about 100 years ago that the ecosanctuary was trying to restore.

It had been a long process to secure the takahe and the habitat had already been developed for them with funding from the Speight's Environment Fund, Ms Baillie said.

"We have ideal takahe habitat.

They like wetlands and exotic and native grasses."

They would be close to the walking tracks and were known to be people-friendly birds.

"I imagine they'll be quite obvious to visitors."

The takahe were likely to come from Mana Island, north of Wellington. A wire fence would be built around the most likely habitat for them so they "could settle in and get to know each other" in the short term.

A feeding station for the pair would also be built.



Diet: Broad-leaved snow tussock, mid-ribbed snow tussock and curled snow tussock.
Nest: Under the shelter of snow tussocks.
Eggs: Birds lay 1-3 eggs; of these, 80% hatch.
Incubation: 30 days; shared by both parents, who also feed the chicks for three months.
Size: An adult stands about 50cm high and can weigh over 3kg.
Age: Takahe have lived over 20 years in captivity, but in the wild few birds reach this age.
Wings: For display only, such as in courtship, aggression.
Survival: Rediscovered in 1948 and a 500sq km area in Fiordland National Park set up for their conservation.
Numbers: Endangered. By 1982, the population had dwindled to 118 birds. About 130 birds remain in Fiordland.
Conservation: Artificial incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks is carried out at the Department of Conservation's Burwood Bush rearing unit, Te Anau. Birds have been released on predator-free islands: Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds, Mana and Kapiti Islands north of Wellington, Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf, northeast of Auckland, and on Maungatautari Ecological Island, Waikato.

Source: Doc


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