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Up to 25 South Island robins will be translocated from commercial forest plantations in Flagstaff and the Silver Peaks to Orokonui Ecosanctuary later this week.
It will be the first attempt to establish a South Island robin population on the mainland, ecosanctuary manager Chris Baillie said.
Restricted to mainly remote areas of native forest in Fiordland, western Otago, Westland, Marlborough and Nelson, the South Island robin's Dunedin population was one of only two found on the east coast of the South Island.
The ecosanctuary would provide a home where introduced predators had been eradicated and prevented from re-entering by a predator-proof fence.
The forest where they would be taken from was scheduled to be felled.
A ceremony to mark the translocation would be held on Friday.