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First hihi hatched in the wild on mainland NZ

28 October 2005

First hihi hatched in the wild on mainland New Zealand

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Three hihi chicks in nest at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Photographer: Raewyn Empson, Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.


The endangered bird hihi (or stitchbird) has reached another conservation milestone with the first hihi chicks hatching in the wild on mainland New Zealand for over 120 years at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellington.

Earlier this year 60 hihi were released at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, from Tiritiri Matangi Island together with 4 from the National Wildlife Centre, marking the return of this special bird to the wild on the mainland for the first time in over 120 years.

"Seeing the hihi breed in the Sanctuary, and in fact for the first time in the wild on mainland New Zealand, is certainly a significant event for the Sanctuary and New Zealand conservation", says Karori Wildlife Sanctuary chief executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward.

"This species has done particularly well since they were released at the Sanctuary in February and May this year. The mild winter we've experienced in Wellington has prompted hihi and many other species, such as bellbird, saddleback and brown teal to produce chicks up to a month earlier than normal."

The last time hihi were seen on the mainland was in the 1880's in the Tararua's. 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.


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