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Christmas Has Come Early At The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary: Tīeke Fledgling Confirmed!

An update from the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary, Nelson on their Tīeke translocation programme. For immediate release.

After a few weeks of circulating rumours, the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary are pleased to confirm that a rare Tīeke fledgling (South Island saddleback) has been sighted in the lower reaches of the Sanctuary. The fledgling is roughly 2 months old and is the first Tīeke to hatch in the Nelson region in over 120 years. Tīeke were believed to be extinct from the South Island in about 1900 due to predation by introduced mammals, however extensive translocation programmes re-establishing Tīeke on several pest free islands have ensured their survival.

Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Ecologist, Robert Schadewinkel, is thrilled to confirm that the fledgling appeared to be in good health, with the hatching signifying a huge win for conservation in the Top of the South.

“The discovery of the Tīeke fledgling shows that the birds are doing well in the Sanctuary; they have established a territory and bred successfully, basically making the Sanctuary their home. We hope to find further Tīeke fledglings over the next few months. Following the successful translocation in April this marks a further step towards establishing the world’s only viable mainland population of Tīeke.”

News of the fledgling comes amid a busy spring at the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary. In late November the sanctuary saw the release of 20 critically endangered kākāriki karaka (NZ orange-fronted parakeet). As well as this, several weeks prior an adult pair of Tīeke were reported to have set up territory within close distance of the visitor centre, often in the company of a Jack bird suspected to be last season’s offspring.

This same pair are suspected to now be parents to the newest fledgling, signalling a successful breeding programme for the birds as the feathered family grows.

Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Chief Executive Ru Collin says that news of the fledgling has created a buzz amongst staff and volunteers, and he is pleased to see the establishment of a Tīeke population at the Brook Sanctuary.

The Tīeke population at the Sanctuary is currently being monitored by staff and volunteers. Visitors are also being asked to report any sightings.

Further information on the translocation programme:

A total of 40 birds were successfully translocated from Motuara Island to the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary in April, after several years of planning, preparation, and consultation. You can read more information about the tīeke translocation here: Translocation and reintroduction of tīeke - learn more (brooksanctuary.org.nz)

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