Friday, 23 November 2012


by Sue Hensley

The tuatara released in early November appear to be exploring their new surroundings. In fact the females being tracked are dispersing further than had been anticipated. The juveniles however thus far seem to be more content to stay fairly close to the release site.
The excitement of translocations of tuatara has been somewhat tempered by the unexpected death of Te Hoiere one of Orokonui's two ambassador takahe. He was found by staff member Kelly Gough far away from what had been his usual haunt on the grasslands close to the Visitor Centre. Preliminary autopsy results show that he died of septicemia. Although he was rather 'shy' (not often visible) it was great to hear him 'boof' at people as they walked a little too close to the vegetation where he was hiding, and it was always a thrill to see that large red beak and blue head amongst the tussock.  Quammen, the other takahe, remains in the swampy area at the northern end and has been seen by a number of people including a group of 30 school children; he has even been known to approach people sitting on the seat close to the gate. DOC have located a female on Kapiti Island as a possible mate for him.
Chicks are starting to make an appearance throughout Orokonui with the sound of bellbird chicks most numerous.  On the way to the aviary, fernbird chicks have been seen, and the first kaka nest of the year has been found, with three eggs in it, close to a public track. Reception had previous reports of these not-shy birds mating in full view of visitors. The robins have fledged 21 chicks so far and many pairs are onto their second nest.
Christmas is almost here and the Visitor Centre shop has lots of new products for Christmas. Gift vouchers are always available for memberships, tours, annual passes etc.
Details of happenings over the summer can be found on or on our Facebook page. The Visitor Centre and cafĂ© are open daily 9:30am – 4:30pm. We are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day only.

Merry Christmas, and thank you to all for supporting this project in so many different ways through 2012. Enjoy our beautiful country over the summer and travel safely.

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