Takahe se­cure near Te Anau

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Six takahe¯ breed­ing pairs now have two new se­cure ter­ri­to­ries to raise their chicks in this spring at the Bur­wood Takahe¯ Cen­tre near Te Anau and Maun­gatau­tari Eco­log­i­cal Is­land near Hamil­ton.

The Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion’s se­nior takahe¯ ranger, Glen Greaves, says the new en­clo­sures are a pos­i­tive re­sult for the re­cov­ery pro­gramme in help­ing support the grow­ing takahe¯ pop­u­la­tion.

‘‘The enclosure ex­pan­sion has been a long time in the plan­ning, and the fi­nal touches were be­ing made by the team this month with the birds destined for Kahu­rangi Na­tional Park un­ex­pect­edly stay­ing on to spend the breed­ing sea­son at Bur­wood,’’ he said.

‘‘With last year’s ju­ve­niles com­ing in be­hind also need­ing space, the in­creased hold­ing ca­pac­ity has put us in a good place to deal with this change of plan.’’

Se­cure preda­tor-con­trolled breed­ing ter­ri­to­ries are cru­cial to the species’ sur­vival, giv­ing vul­ner­a­ble chicks a chance to ma­ture. Across the two new se­cure en­clo­sures, there will be ca­pac­ity for up to 50 birds.

The Bur­wood Takahe¯ Cen­tre, the hub of the breed­ing pro­gramme, is the most pro­duc­tive of all the takahe¯ breed­ing sites.

At nearly 135ha, the new Bur­wood enclosure nearly dou­bles the area of the orig­i­nal, built in 1987.

‘‘This pen has been a crit­i­cal part of the pro­gramme for 30 years, not only as a breed­ing site, but also in pro­vid­ing habi­tat that is a per­fect train­ing ground for ju­ve­niles be­fore be­ing re­leased in wild sites, such as the Murchi­son Moun­tains.’’

Over 200 ju­ve­niles have been suc­cess­fully raised in the old enclosure.

At Maun­gatau­tari, the brand new Coop­ers Pen, en­clos­ing 3ha of known suc­cess­ful takahe¯ breed­ing habi­tat lo­cated on the moun­tain, was two years in the mak­ing and is now home to birds Brodie and Puiaki.

Both new en­clo­sures were made pos­si­ble through support from Mitre 10, of­fi­cial sup­plier to the Takahe¯ Re­cov­ery Pro­gramme and over 1000 vol­un­teer hours.

‘‘Be­ing based in Te Anau, we have a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship with our lo­cal Mitre 10 team.

‘‘They are pas­sion­ate about takahe¯ and are al­ways ready to help us prob­lem solve the unique chal­lenges we face at Bur­wood.

‘‘We are also very for­tu­nate to have such great support from vol­un­teers,’’ Greaves said.

BARRY HARCOURT

A young sub adult takahe bred at the Bur­wood Cen­tre.

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