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Endangered Stitchbird to Join Karori Sanctuary

Endangered stitchbird to join Karori Wildlife Sanctuary

Stitchbird (hihi) will be the latest species to join Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. 60 stitchbird will be transferred to the Sanctuary from Tiritiri Matangi Island in two stages. Up to 30 birds will be transferred in mid February and another 30 will be transferred in May.

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Photograph courtesy of and by Peter Reese.

“This is a significant event for New Zealand and for the Sanctuary. Stitchbirds have been extinct from the wild on the mainland of New Zealand for 120 years. We hope that the stitchbirds will flourish in the safety of the Sanctuary, adding to our visitors appreciation of our natural heritage, right in the middle of a major city”, says Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Chief Executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward.

The last time stitchbird were seen on the mainland was in the 1880’s in the Tararua’s.

The transfer of stitchbird from Tiritiri Matangi Island to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is the first step of Department of Conservation’s new five-year recovery plan for the stitchbird recently announced by the Prime Minister. The only self-sustaining population is found on Little Barrier Island and there are two introduced managed populations – on Kapiti Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island.

Karori Wildlife Sanctuary’s conservation scientist Raewyn Empson will oversee the capture and relocation of the birds with the support of local iwi, Department of Conservation and Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi. Financial support for the transfer has been provided by Pub Charity Inc.

Stitchbird will be joining two other species that Karori Wildlife Sanctuary has brought back to their natural environment on the mainland of New Zealand for the first time in over 100 years – little spotted kiwi and North Island saddleback.

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