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Rare Takahē Chick Hatches at ZEALANDIA

November 2018

Wellington, NZ – A rare takahē chick has hatched at ZEALANDIA, with Rangers at the Wellington wildlife sanctuary doing all they can to improve its chances of survival.

The chick was estimated to have hatched last Wednesday. ZEALANDIA's Conservation Manager Dr Danielle Shanahan is delighted, but is cautiously aware that the chick is still extremely vulnerable.

"We are really excited to have a new addition to our whānau,” said Dr Shanahan. "But this is nature and of course, and anything could happen.”

While the birds are much safer in predator free environments like ZEALANDIA, there are still many risks for the chick. Takahē chicks are vulnerable to wet spring weather conditions, and parents can struggle to find the right food to support them.

"We will be doing all we can to improve the chances that this chick grows into a healthy adult."

This includes closing off public access to the takahē wetland area for a few weeks to give the birds some space, and supplying supplementary food to help the parents provide the best nutrition for the youngster.

“We are incredibly lucky to have a huge team of volunteers and staff who are ensuring the parents have access to supplementary food throughout the day.”

The takahē parents, Nio and Orbell, were moved to ZEALANDIA last year from Mana Island to free up space for younger birds. At 14 and 18 respectively, they are nearing the end of their breeding age.

At ZEALANDIA they are ambassador birds for their species, providing thousands of visitors with a chance to see one of New Zealand's most endangered and charismatic birds.

This hatching is especially poignant news today, as we celebrate the 70 year anniversary of the rediscovery of takahē. Widely considered extinct, a determined Invercargill doctor called Geoffrey Orbell rediscovered a small population in a remote part of Fiordland in 1948. Our newest dad, Orbell the takahē, is of course named after him.
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