Kakariki get chop­per ride to free­dom

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE -

‘‘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.’’

PHO­TOS: SUPPLIED

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.

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