Thursday, 24 May 2012

OROKONUI ECOSANCTUARY

by Sue Hensley

A fantastic milestone was reached with the reintroduction of two
takahe in late May. These endangered birds number a mere 260 of which
only 45 pairs are successful breeders. The survival of this species is
still in the balance. The captive breeding programme has been fraught
with numerous challenges and their sole wild habitat in Fiordland's
Murchison mountains is extremely inhospitable climate-wise and under
pressure from stoats.

Our new residents, Quammen and Te Hoiere, are captive-bred older males
with unsuccessful breeding histories, which is why DOC has made them
available to Orokonui as "takahe ambassadors".

They were initially released into a small enclosure to become familiar
with the area and then released at large. In their previous home -- Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds
(rather a chilly transition to Orokonui) -- they showed that they were
at ease with people and so we hope they will feed out in the open
grassy areas and happily coexist with Orokonui's visitors.

This is the first autumn for three years there have been no rats
trapped. It is usually about this time that juveniles from any
residual population start roaming and begin to appear in our
monitoring system so this is an excellent sign and we hope this nil
result will be repeated when the tracking cards go out.

A wheelchair is now available at the Visitor Centre thanks to Anisha
at reception who saw the need and organised a raffle to raise the
necessary funds. Ruth Pankhurst won the raffle and Orokonui won the
wheelchair!

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