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Kaka breed on Maungatautari

Kaka breed on Maungatautari

For the first time in an estimated 50 years the nationally endangered kaka are breeding on the Maungatautari restoration project in the Waikato.

Four fluffy white chicks have hatched in the southern enclosure aviary under the watchful eye of parents Wildone and Mia, who are on loan from Auckland Zoo.

“It’s our second reintroduced species to breed on the mountain, after kiwi, since the restoration project began and tangible progress toward our goal of returning native wildlife to Maungatautari,” said Maungatautari Trust ecologist Chris Smuts-Kennedy.

The chicks will remain in the nest for about 60 days – at that stage they are still unable to fly and will climb to the ground where they will flap around for a further few days while their wings develop.

To help the chicks imprint on Maungatautari they will stay in the aviary with their parents until they are six months old. After their release it is hoped that they will remain on the mountain.

To-date ten adult kaka have been released on Maungatautari, each spending time in the aviary while they became accustomed to their new home. Some of the previously released kaka are regularly seen in and around the mountain’s southern enclosure and from the 16 metre forest canopy viewing tower.

Kaka are just one of the species the Maungatautari Trust are reintroducing to the 3,400ha mountain. Takahe, kiwi and kokopu have already been released and over the next few years the Trust plans to reintroduce kokako, tuatara, stitchbird (hihi) saddleback, robins, rifleman, kakariki and whiteheads.

The southern and northern enclosures on Maungatautari have been pest free since early 2005 and in 2006 a 47km predator proof fence was completed around the forest edge of the mountain. To-date 12 of the 15 pest species on the main mountain have been eradicated with only small populations of rabbits, hares, and mice remaining.


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