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ZEALANDIA Takahē Passes Away

Puffin the takahē at ZEALANDIA. Photo Credit: Judi Lapsley Miller

ZEALANDIA Takahē Passes Away

Wellington, NZ – One of ZEALANDIA’s much-loved takahē ambassadors, Puffin, passed away over the weekend. Puffin was 21 years old, well over the lifespan of a wild takahē. She delighted over half a million visitors and highlighted the plight of this endangered species during her time at the Wellington sanctuary.

Puffin was taken to The Nest Te Kōhanga at Wellington Zoo after she was seen to be off her food and appearing lethargic. She was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal upset which may have been due to a partial obstruction of her bowel. Puffin was recovering well with medical treatment and due to be returned to ZEALANDIA but was unexpectedly found deceased by vet staff on Monday morning.

“Puffin was very old for a takahē, but it is still upsetting,” said ZEALANDIA Conservation Manager and Acting CE Dr. Danielle Shanahan.

“She was always popular with our visitors and well-loved by our volunteers, staff, and members.”

Puffin was recovering in a temperature-monitored area at Wellington Zoo and was not affected by the recent cold snap.

“The team at The Nest Te Kōhanga have done incredible work as always, and we are lucky to have their support just down the road” said Dr. Shanahan.

“There’s nothing more that could have been done, it’s just the sad reality of working with older animals.”

Puffin is survived by her 22 year-old mate T2. The pair came to ZEALANDIA in 2011 from Mana Island once they had passed their breeding age. They also have a number of grand-chicks on Tiritiri Matangi Island, Motutapu Island, Mana Island and at Burwood Takahē Centre.

Julie Harvey, Takahē Advocacy Ranger at DOC, was hopeful about the future with these chicks.

“If the next birds are half the ambassador as Puffin it will be a huge win for takahē." said Harvey.

The team at ZEALANDIA will be working with Takahē Recovery to explore options that ensure this incredible species can be encountered at the sanctuary into the future. Takahē Recovery and Ngāi Tahu have been notified, and Puffin’s body has been sent to Wildbase Pathology for necropsy.


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