Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Tiritiri Matangi Island loses iconic bird

12 August 2012

Tiritiri Matangi Island loses iconic bird

One of Tiritiri Matangi Island’s best known and loved endangered birds died today while being assessed for health problems at Auckland Zoo. The exact cause of death is yet to be determined, but Greg, the 19 year old takahē ambassador had been showing the signs of old age, losing weight and ousted from his territory by younger and fitter birds on the island.

Thousands of New Zealanders and international visitors came to know and love Greg, the flightless and iconic bird who was an exceptional advocate for his species and the island’s conservation efforts. He will be hugely missed, says Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi chair Peter Lee.

“Greg was great at engaging the public. He was an expert at winning people over and at times even at stealing their lunch. Wherever there were people Greg was there, he became the personal face of rare species and helped tell the whole conservation story.”

Department of Conservation Island Ranger Jess Clark says that takahē were first introduced to Tiritiri Matangi in 1991 as part of the national recovery programme, with Greg arriving in 1994.

“He was just 18 months old when he came to the island but quickly got down to the job of breeding, fathering many chicks over the years. When you have a national population of just 260 birds, his contribution and legacy has to be considered significant.”

There are 13 takahē remaining on Tiritiri Matangi. Young juvenile birds from the successful island breeding programme have been taken back to the Murchison Mountains to help boost the mainland wild population.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“The regular cycling of takahē between islands and the mainland to manage the genetic diversity of island populations is seen as crucial to the success of the takahē recovery programme,” says Ms Clark. “Greg’s genes live on, with one of his chicks Ahikaea continuing to breed on Tiritiri and another chick Ella now a founder of a population across the water on Motutapu Island. Greg has certainly left a legacy.”

Greg will be returned to Tiritiri Matangi in the next few days with a memorial ceremony planned on the island to celebrate his life and contribution to conservation. Such has been the emotional response from those whose lives have been touched by this bird that the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi are planning to set up a fund in Greg’s memory, to be used for future conservation projects on the island.

Tiritiri Matangi, managed in partnership by the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi and DOC, is the one of only two places north of Auckland you can see takahē in the wild. The other island sanctuaries for takahē include Motutapu, Maud, Mana and Kapiti islands.

The flightless takahē, the largest living member of the rail family, was rediscovered in the Murchison Mountains in 1948. DOC’s work to recover the species has been focussed on establishing self-sustaining populations in Fiordland and on predator-free islands.

Media enquiries: Liz Maire, DOC Warkworth Area Office ph 021 234 0831, lmaire@doc.govt.nz


Background information

Facts about takahe

• The takahē is an endangered flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand.
• Takahē once lived throughout the North and South Islands and were thought to be extinct until rediscovered by Geoffrey Orbell near Lake Te Anau in the Murchison Mountains, South Island in 1948.
• Today’s population is around 260 birds at various sites including the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland as well as the pest-free islands Tiritiri Matangi, Kapiti, Mana and Maud and mainland sanctuary of Maungatautiri, near Cambridge.
• Some takahē have lived for over 20 years in captivity, but in the wild few would live to more than 15 years of age.
• Since the 1980’s, DOC has been involved in managing takahē nests to boost the birds' recovery. Artificial incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks is carried out at the Burwood Bush rearing unit, Te Anau, where five pairs are held to form a small breeding group.
• Mitre10 Takahē Rescue has sponsored the Takahē Recovery Programme for the last six years, contributing the development of the breeding unit, the health checks and transfers of Takahē around the country as well as a number of other projects that have supported the growth of the national takahe population.

Tiritiri Matangi Island
www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-visit/auckland/hauraki-gulf-islands/tiritiri-matangi-scientific-reserve-open-sanctuary/


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.