The success of Sanctuary Mountain’s conservation efforts has been underlined with the arrival of another six kākāpō from the South Island
The bird were released last week, a move enabled by Ngāi Tahu and welcomed by about 100 people. Four birds were released there in July.
It brings the total kākāpō population on the 34,500ha inland island to 10 – there are fewer than 250 left – and is the second key step in a long term plan to establish a breeding population.
All the native parrots released have been males.
Before July Kākāpō had not been in the North Island for more than 40 years and the moving of the 10 birds has eased pressure on offshore islands where breeding populations have been established.
“By monitoring these birds over the next decade or so, we’ll know whether a larger kākāpō population could one day thrive and even breed on this mainland site,” Department of Conservation Kākāpō Recovery Operations manager Deidre Vercoe said.
“It’s too soon to know how kākāpō will do here long-term, but so far they seemed to be settling in well.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu kākāpō Species representative Tāne Davis is optimistic New Zealanders will eventually see the “manu taonga” return to the mainland.
“To save our kākāpō from extinction we have sent our taonga to our iwi partners, but one day we hope to see Rakiura/Stewart Island and other areas of the mainland predator free, so we can bring their uri (descendants) home.”