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Takahē makes big comeback from near extinction

Friday 2 Dec 2016 4:15 p.m.

(Department of Conservation / supplied)

(Department of Conservation / supplied)

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The takahē population has nearly tripled in the last three decades, the Department of Conservation (DoC) says, and the endangered bird's future is looking bright.

The bird was thought to be extinct for half a century before it was rediscovered in Fiordland's Murchison mountains in 1948.

It's the same location that 26 takahē were released earlier this month, and is home to the last remaining wild population.

"The wild population holds the most valuable birds, in terms of genetics and the learned behaviours that allow them to survive in the mountainous habitat," says DoC takahē ranger Glen Greaves.

"The released birds are all fitted with transmitters, as are some of the resident birds, allowing us to closely track survival over the coming months."


(Department of Conservation / supplied)

At least 106 live in the Murchison mountains according to a census done in September and DoC says the Takahē Recovery Programme's success means it's almost out of space for more of the birds.

"The last two years have seen record numbers of chicks, and the population is now growing at nearly 10 percent per year," Mr Greaves says.

"This rapidly-growing population enables us to boost the wild population and look to returning takahē back to areas where they have long been extinct."

The programme's next step is to find a second spot for a large, wild takahē population to live.

Around another 200 takahē live in predator-free locations across the country.

The Takahē Recovery Programme got a significant funding boost earlier this year when it teamed up with Fulton Hogan, amounting to $1 million over five years.

Newshub.

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