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Second wave of shore plover to Mana Island

Second wave of shore plover to Mana Island

Bevan Cameron and Rose Colin releasing Shore Plover into their temporary home on Mana Island (Taken by Amanda Cosgrove, DOC)

A Shore Plover chick ready to be released on Mana Island (Taken by Amanda Cosgrove, DOC)

28 February 2008

Second wave of shore plover to Mana Island

Twenty more nationally-endangered shore plover took up residence on Mana Island near Wellington today as part of a Department of Conservation plan to ensure their long-term survival.

The DOC-managed island is already proving a suitable location for this small and colourful seabird. Forty-one captive-bred juvenile birds released there last year in a bid to establish a fourth population are already breeding and being seen on the mainland.

Shore plover occurred throughout New Zealand until the mid-1800s. Introduced predators wiped them out on mainland New Zealand, and they were reduced to about 130 birds on Rangatira (South East) Island in the Chatham Islands. Ten pairs are held in captivity, at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre in northern Wairarapa and Peacock Springs, Christchurch.

Young birds produced by the captive flock are released on to predator–free islands as soon as they are old enough to fly.

DOC captive species ranger Bevan Cameron, who has been breeding the Mana Island-bound birds at Pukaha Mt Bruce, was delighted to accompany them to their new home.

"It's exciting to see the birds in their natural environment. We've had them in a temporary aviary here before releasing them so they learn the sights and smells of their new home," he said.

DOC Mana Island ranger Susan Caldwell is also excited about their arrival on the island.

"The shore plover are lovely little birds that are popular with local visitors to the island and it’s a pleasure to have some new ones join us.”

Team work to manage their permanent stay in the area is the next step for both DOC staff and local volunteers.

“Initially, we’ll be monitoring birds to see that they are adjusting to their life in the wild and feeding properly," Ms Caldwell said.

"Next spring, we’ll be watching to see who pairs up with whom and where they establish territories."

The public are encouraged to let DOC know about any sightings on the mainland. Please ring the National Banding Office with any details on 04 4713294.


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