Kakariki get chopper ride to freedom
‘‘An expansion of the Tui Nature Reserve facilities is planned to help more native species who are heavily under threat by predators and lost habitat’’
Twelve yellow crowned kakariki have tasted freedom for the first time after being bred in captivity.
The birds, which were bred at the Tui Nature Reserve Wildlife Trust in the outer Pelorus Sound, were flown by helicopter on Friday to Project Janszoon in the Abel Tasman National Park.
The release of the native parakeets is part of a breeding partnership between the trust and Project Janszoon, which aims to bring back more native fauna and flora to the park.
Tui Nature Reserve Wildlife Trust chairman Brian Plaisier says two of the birds originated from Long Island in the Sounds, and had four successful nests with offspring.
‘‘It is a great feeling that they will be released after three years in captivity,’’ he says.
The trust is working together with Lochmara Lodge in Queen Charlotte Sound, EcoWorld Aquarium in Picton and Nelson’s Natureland in a breeding project guided by Rosemary Vander Lee from Project Janszoon, and the Department of Conservation.
The programme involves an exchange of birds between the groups to keep a healthy breeding stock, Brian says.
As such four birds from EcoWorld Aquarium will be transferred to Tui Nature Reserve.
Brian says he is very grateful to the Lottery Grants Board and the Rata Foundation for their support. ’’Without this, the breeding of native species for release would not be possible.
‘‘To have support from those organisations and further sponsorship is absolutely crucial for more, much-needed releases of native species into predator free areas.
‘‘An expansion of the Tui Nature Reserve facilities is planned to help more native species who are heavily under threat by predators and lost habitat,’’ he says.
Meanwhile, the trust has also been hugely successful in the breeding of native giant weta. ’’We are proud to have 350 hatched giant weta nymphs in our facilities.’’
Peter Gaze of Project Janszoon, left, Liam Plaisier, Esmae Plaisier and Brian Plaisier of Tui Nature Reserve with the 12 yellow crowned kakariki that were bred at the reserve and transported to Abel Tasman National Park.
One of the 12 yellow crowned kakariki.