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New Female Takahē to Make Pukaha Mount Bruce Home

Pukaha Mount Bruce staff and volunteers are pleased to announce the arrival of a new resident takahē, Fomi, to the centre.

Fomi, which stands for Friends of Mana Island, is a 13 year old female takahē that has been living on Mana Island.

Fomi is a direct descendant of one of the 8 founding takahē relocated to Mana Island in 1988, which came from both Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and Te Anau Wildlife Centre.

Weather permitting Fomi is expected to arrive at Pukaha Mount Bruce on Monday the 26th of June. She will be released into Pukaha’s predator proof fenced takahē area to join Natural a 16 year old male takahē.

Fomi’s arrival is great news to the Pukaha team after the recent death of the takahē Bud aged 21.

The takahē story at Pukaha Mount Bruce dates back to the late 1950’s when Elwyn Welch, Pukaha’s neighbour and keen conservationist brought takahē back from Fiordland after their rediscovery in 1948. Since 1962 there have always been takahē present at Pukaha Mount Bruce.

“With our long proud history of takahē at Pukaha it’s wonderful to welcome Fomi here. While it is not expected that Fomi and Natural will breed, given their ages of 13 and 18, respectively, the introduction of a new female takahē to Pukaha is a great reason to celebrate.” says Todd Jenkinson, Pukaha’s conservation manager.

ENDS: For further information, please contact general manager, Helen Tickner on 0277 700020


17 years ago Tilly, Alec, Squeak, Taku, Matakau, Terri, Ernie and Selwyn were introduced to Mana from Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre and Te Anau Wildlife Centre. These takahē formed the ‘founding population’ and with their offspring have made Mana one of the most prolific breeding sites for takahē. Mana birds have been used to help found populations on Kapiti, Tiritiri Matangi and more recently Motutapu Island and now Pukaha Mount Bruce.

The takahē was once thought to be extinct, but in 1948 it hit world headlines when an Invercargill doctor, Geoffrey Orbell, rediscovered the bird high in the tussock grasslands of the remote Murchison Mountains, Fiordland

Takahē are flightless but can in captivity be long–lived birds. At secure sites they can live for about 20 years or more. They can still be found in the wilds of Fiordland where their maximum lifespan is about 15 years. Alpine, the oldest known takahē, passed away at 27 years old.

Today the work of a small dedicated team of Department of Conservation (DOC) takahē rangers is supported and enhanced by Iwi, scientists, volunteers and the public and private organisations that provide homes and care for our breeding takahē and those birds now retired from the breeding programme. The Takahē Recovery Programme involves a network of people throughout New Zealand, working together to ensure the takahē is never again ‘considered extinct’.

The takahē programme is an important part of Pukaha’s history. In 1955, Elwyn Welch set up what was one of the first “captive native bird facilities” on his farm next door to the Mount Bruce Forest Reserve. The takahē was one of the species Elwyn Welch assisted. Some of Elwyn’s pioneering work to save the takahē have fashioned conservation techniques for protected species in New Zealand and in the world. Elwyn’s work with takahē and several other bird species was moved to the Mount Bruce Forest Reserve in 1962.

It is estimated there are only around 300 takahē remaining. Today the takahē remains critically endangered.


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