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DOC Mourns The Loss Of Legendary “Mrs Bones”


DOC Mourns The Loss Of Legendary Black Stilt “Mrs Bones”

DOC staff at Twizel were upset and saddened to find egg-laying extraordinaire Mrs Bones dead in her aviary last week.

Mrs Bones first made national headlines two years ago when she survived ambitious surgery to repair a broken bill. More recently, she has been celebrated for her outstanding contribution to the recovery of her species.

“She was our best breeder by far and losing her is a real blow to the kakï recovery programme,” says DOC aviculturalist Emily Sancha. “We can only hope that her offspring will take after her.”

Ms Sancha says that it was Mrs Bones’ bill that finally let her down. “There really wasn’t anything we could do this time. The surgery prolonged her life but the repairs were a temporary solution. The operations were definitely worthwhile and we’ve been incredibly lucky to have had her as long as we have.”

In the 12 years of her life, Mrs Bones produced 84 eggs, and 68 of these successfully hatched chicks. All 68 of her offspring have, or soon will be, released into the wild as part of DOC’s kakï recovery programme.

Ms Sancha says that 13 of the 26 juvenile kakï due to be released this week will be Mrs Bones’ offspring. Another release later this year will provide them with plenty of non-related mates to breed with when they are older.

Meanwhile, Mr Bones is rearing the pair’s last two chicks at the Twizel aviaries and Ms Sancha has another female she hopes to pair him up with.

Kakï/black stilt are the world’s rarest wading bird. Once widespread in New Zealand, kakï are now essentially restricted to the Mackenzie Basin. DOC’s kakï recovery programme is based in Twizel, where seven full-time staff are dedicated to the programme.


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