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Takahe buddies for Pukaha’s Bud

10 June 2008

Takahe buddies for Pukaha’s Bud

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mall> New takahe gets ready for its release at Pukaha (Amanda Cosgrove, DOC)


Bud, the resident takahe at Wairarapa’s Pukaha Mount Bruce wildlife centre, is lonesome no more following the introduction of two male buddies to his enclosure, visible from the centre’s popular café.

The centre took delivery of two birds from Mana Island on Friday 30 May and the staff are excited about having some company for Bud following the death of his long-time companion Georgie earlier this year.

Department of Conservation captive breeding ranger Bevan Cameron, who worked on the takahe breeding programme at Burwood Bush rearing unit in Te Anau, is pleased to have more of his favourite native birds at Pukaha.

“The takahe are here for advocacy purposes for visitors to the centre. We don’t breed birds rather allow people the rare opportunity to see them.”

Takahe were thought to be extinct until their rediscovery in 1948 in the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland, where around 130 birds remain today.

DOC’s work with takahe includes establishing breeding pairs on four islands: Maud Island (Marlborough Sounds), Mana Island (off Wellington’s west coast), Kapiti Island (north of Mana) and Tiritiri Matangi Island (Hauraki Gulf). There are approximately 60 birds on the islands. The department also runs a captive breeding and rearing programme at Burwood Bush, Te Anau.

Although takahe are no longer bred at Pukaha Mount Bruce, it was the plight of this colourful flightless bird that led to the establishment of the national wildlife centre. Wairarapa farmer and keen ornithologist Elwyn Welch took four takahe chicks back to his farm there in 1958 to be fostered by bantam hens to safeguard the species from extinction. The New Zealand Wildlife Service took over Welch's work in 1962, setting up a native bird management reserve in the Mount Bruce forest.

For more information on the takahe in New Zealand go to: http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/podcover.aspx?id=32932

Find out more about Pukaha Mount Bruce: http://www.doc.govt.nz/templates/PlaceProfile.aspx?id=34978

Takahe are among New Zealand’s rarest birds and Mitre 10 supports their conservation through the Mitre 10 Takahe Rescue sponsorship. More information about the sponsorship can be found at http://www.mitre10.co.nz/about_us/about_us/sponsorship.cfm. The sponsorship was made possible by the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation.

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