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Department of Conservation mourns loss

3 July 2008

Department of Conservation mourns loss

Department of Conservation staff are mourning the loss of a takahe on Mana Island. The male bird was shot last week after being mistaken for a pukeko during a control operation to reduce pukeko numbers.

The population of pukeko on the island has swelled to around 600 from just one bird in 1991. Pukeko pull out native plantings, interfere with supplementary feeding stations for takahe, are known predators of the island’s other establishing species (brown teal and shore plover), and could transfer disease to the closely related takahe.

Pukeko are occasionally culled on the island to reduce their numbers, and thereby lessen the risks that they pose to other species, whilst still retaining a viable pukeko population.

An investigation has confirmed that the shooting was one of mistaken identity and Kapiti Area manager Ian Cooksley said the incident was “deeply regrettable”.

“We’ll be taking a hard look at our management practices for the island to ensure that such an incident is never repeated.”

“We appreciate our important role as a guardian of New Zealand’s most vulnerable native wildlife and our staff, along with other organisations and volunteers, work above and beyond the call of duty to fulfil this role.”

“But in this case we erred and we must learn from this unfortunate incident.”

The bird was a male that had not pair bonded so its death is not expected to affect the island’s breeding population.


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