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Final Kakapo Eggs Hatch

17 March 2014

Final Kakapo Eggs Hatch

A kakapo chick has hatched in the wild on Hauturu o Toi/Little Barrier Island, less than two years after a small adult population was re-introduced to the island.

The arrival of Heather One there and five hatchings on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island means the total number of kakapo chicks to successfully hatch this season, is six. A seventh chick died last week, just a few hours after hatching on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island.

Kakapo Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott said all chicks were doing well but the team was particularly thrilled with the successful breeding on Hauturu o Toi/Little Barrier. “Kakapo were first introduced there in 1982 and had some success breeding there, although they needed supplementary food.”

They also needed protection from the kiore (Pacific rat) and in 1999 all kakapo were removed so the rats could be eradicated from the island.

A total of nine kakapo have been transferred to Hauturu o Toi/Little Barrier Island since 2012, but this time they haven’t been given any supplementary food.

The successful mother – Heather – mated three times with Dobbie. Both birds had previously lived on the island. She produced three eggs but only two were viable. The second was transferred to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island to ensure that when it hatched the chick didn’t have to compete with its older sibling in the nest, for food.

Heather One was discovered by Department of Conservation staff soon after it hatched on Wednesday night. There were concerns about its safety as ex-cyclone Lusi made its way across the Pacific.

“Fortunately, Heather’s nest was in a relatively sheltered spot away from any creek that had the potential to flood. We also checked the site for loose branches and dug extra drainage around the site.”

Meanwhile, on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, two of the five chicks there have been fostered out to kakapo mothers who have been sitting on dummy eggs.

The Kakapo Recovery team would provide intensive monitoring to ensure the chicks were being fed and were healthy. The other three were currently being cared for in incubators and being hand-fed, Ms Vercoe Scott said.

For more information visit http://www.kakaporecovery.org.nz

Conservation in partnership:
DOC’s kākāpō recovery work is actively supported by a partnership involving New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited and Forest & Bird.

First signed 24 years ago, the agreement is DOC’s longest running conservation partnerships and has already injected more than $4 million towards breeding programmes, predator proof sanctuaries and innovative research for the flightless parrot.

Its long term kākāpō recovery goal is to have 150 females at three separate sites, one of which is self-sustaining.

Hauturu o Toi is of high cultural significance for Ngāti Manuhiri, with the reserve transferred to the hapu in 2013 as part of their Treaty Settlement. The island was then gifted back to the people of New Zealand, with a 1.2ha site being retained by Ngāti Manuhiri as part of their cultural redress.

Hauturu o Toi (3083ha) was declared a reserve for native wildlife in 1895 making it New Zealand’s oldest nature reserve.

It’s free of predators such rats, stoats and possums and is a safe haven for a wide range of native wildlife including kiwi, hihi (stitchbird), wetapunga, tuatara, korimako (bellbird), both red and yellow crowned kakariki (parakeets), pateke (brown teal) and two species of bats.

For more information on Hauturu o Toi, go to www.doc.govt.nz


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