“Extinct” Prehistoric Bird Returns to New Zealand Wild

In a massive and historic conservation success story, eighteen takahē birds have been released into the wilds of a nature reserve on Lake Wakatipu.

This is hoped to be followed by seven more in October, and another 10 in the early months of next year as this rediscovered wonder continues its long road to recovery into the third separate breeding population in the wild.

The automobile was still a novel sight in London when the takahē was declared extinct.
This iridescent flightless bird is a symbol of New Zealand’s unique prehistoric past, but it evolved on an island without mammals, and with their invasive introduction came what might have been the bird’s ultimate demise.

Prehistoric bird once thought extinct returns to New Zealand wild | Birds |  The Guardian

However they were rediscovered after the Second World War and ever since conservationists have been taking a proactive approach to ensuring their survival. Eggs located in the wild are taken into care centers to protect them from thieves like stoats, ferrets, and rats.

Conservationists raised chicks in breeding centers by using sock puppets shaped like adult takahē heads, an invaluable technique that eventually gave way to breeding in specially controlled environments.

Trapping the invasive predators has also been an incredibly important contribution to the animal’s steady growth in population of around 8% per annum.

Previously thought extinct bird returns to New… | Smiley Movement

On New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Wakatipu is the island nation’s longest, snaking through the Waimāori Valley for 50 miles. The surrounding environment of alpine slopes is perfect for the one-and-a-half-foot bird.

“They’re almost prehistoric looking,” says Tūmai Cassidy, of the Ngāi Tahu indigenous group who steward the land around Lake Wakatipu. “Very broad and bold.”

He says that from the front they appear perfectly spherical, like a miniature Earth mounted on a pair of orange legs.

South Island takahe |Takahē | New Zealand Birds Online

For the Māori, the reintroduction is incredibly special. In the past Māori people gathered the feathers of the bird into cloaks, and the calls of these animals radiating up the slopes from the valley bottom was a cherished memory that may now be able to be relived.

Show More

Leave a Reply

Back to top button