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800th kaka banded at ZEALANDIA


Volunteer kaka bander Linton Miller bands kaka nestling “W-YG”, the 800th kaka to be banded by ZEALANDIA, held steady by volunteer kaka monitor Bill Beale.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Ridder

800th kaka banded at ZEALANDIA

Wellington, NZ - Zealandia has just banded its 800th kaka, reaching yet another milestone in the sanctuary’s efforts to restore Wellington’s native wildlife. The kaka is still in his nest box being cared for by his mother, but any day now will be out learning to fly and may someday be able to be spotted beyond the Zealandia fence line.

Until Zealandia commenced their breeding programme with the introduction of six birds into the sanctuary in 2002, kaka had been effectively extinct in Wellington for about 100 years.

"A total of fourteen captive-bred kaka were transferred to ZEALANDIA between 2002 and 2007, and since then, they have become one of our biggest success stories," said Zealandia's Conservation Manager, Dr. Danielle Shanahan.

The success of the programme, together with predator control in the greater Wellington region has now seen the native parrots moving further afield, and establishing breeding pairs outside Zealandia’s fence.

Adding a unique combination of coloured leg bands allows individual birds to be identified, even at a distance. (Number 800 has the bands, White – Yellow/Green)

"The regular sightings of a Zealandia banded kaka within - and far beyond - our fenceline have become a symbol of pride and hope for Wellingtonians, showing how we can make a real change to the Wellington region by bringing home our native wildlife," says Dr. Shanahan.

"The kaka population has grown nicely, and we are working closely with partners like Wellington City Council, the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the community to make sure the birds remain healthy and safe outside the sanctuary fence."

The original reason for banding was to monitor their breeding behaviour, but a new focus is the study of the bird’s intelligence. 

As part of Zealandia’s partnership with Victoria University, researchers led by Dr. Rachael Shaw have been studying how they tackle problem solving, how they learn and remember, and how much they can learn from each other. 

"Parrots have been a long been favourite subject for animal cognition researchers, but most studies have been on captive birds"  said Volunteer kaka bander Bill Beale, who banded "W-YG", Zealandia's 800th kaka.

"What is special about Zealandia’s kaka population is the free and natural environment they live in, and its close proximity to the city."

Further information on kaka can be found on our website

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