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Kakariki into the wild

Pukaha released six young kakariki from captivity into the wild on Wednesday.
This release is the first of 39 birds in the breeding-for-release programme at Pukaha, Nga Manu, Natureland and Tui Nature reserves.
The breeders expected the birds would disperse through the 942-hectare ngahere [forest] to find suitable breeding sites and natural food sources.
The yellow-crowned kakariki were reared in captivity by the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre.
Pukaha biodiversity manager Christine Reed said a great deal of time, effort and care, went into the breeding-for-release programme.
“Yellow-crowns are found throughout the North and South Island and on Stewart Island but are rare. While they are seen in the Tararua region and at Pukaha in the past, this release and two more in future years will boost the local population significantly.”
Reed said visitors would still see the kakariki at the feeder stations in the reserve from time to time.
“While we will continue to supplementary feed the released juveniles for a while, there is abundant natural food in the surrounding forest that is perfect for their needs, especially after a recent and successful rat and possum control programme.”
This release will follow the species’ success at Puangiangi Island in the Marlborough Sounds and into Nelson Lakes.
Pukaha celebrated similar successes in captive breeding, including re-introducing North Island kaka, brown kiwi, and kokako into the unfenced forest reserve.
General manager Emily Court said conservation breeding for release significantly contributed to conserving New Zealand bird species.

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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