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Hunua Range Ideal For North Island Robin Release

March 29, 2001

The North Island Robin could be back in the Hunua Range for the first time since the 1880s if an Auckland Regional Council proposal is accepted.

The ARC’s Parks and Recreation committee has endorsed an application to the Department of Conservation to reintroduce the species into the Hunua
Range later this autumn.

Chairman Bill Burrill says the robins have already been part of a very successful breeding programme at the ARC’s Wenderholm Regional Park

“We see the 600 hectare kokako recovery area in the Hunua Range, which we manage with DOC, as an ideal site to test the viability of robins in a larger forested area,” Cr Burrill says.

“It is an area which has been subject to intensive pest control and is now free of most mammalian pests, which has probably assisted the recent natural spread of bellbirds across the Hunua Range. The area is also frequented by kaka, high numbers of Hochstetter’s frogs and native bats.”

Robins have been absent from the Hunua Range since about 1880, probably wiped out by ship rats which spread through the range, and Cr Burrill says their reintroduction is the next logical step in the ecological restoration of the Hunua Range.

If approval to undertake the release is granted up to 30 robins from the Pureora Forest west of Lake Taupo will be released later this autumn, making it the first bird species re-established by translocation in the Hunua Range.

“While the robin is relatively rare but not endangered, it is regarded as a low risk species for reintroduction and has been chosen as the first bird to be released in several other forested areas,” Cr Burrill says.

“The robin is less vulnerable than the kokako so at Hunua the health of the robin population could form a useful indirect measure of the effectiveness of pest control for kokako conservation.”

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