Kokako head into the wilds

Biodiversity ranger Sarah King fits a transmitter to one of the birds. Photo / Christine Cornege
Biodiversity ranger Sarah King fits a transmitter to one of the birds. Photo / Christine Cornege

The progress of a pair of rare New Zealand kokako will be tracked via radio transmitters when they are released into the wild this weekend.

The birds, a male and female, have been at Hamilton Zoo as part of the Department of Conservation's Kokako Recovery Programme and will be released into the wild at Puketi Forest in Northland on Sunday.

Housed in the zoo's free flight aviary since 2005 and 2006, respectively, radio transmitters will allow the birds' progress to be monitored as they settle and nest in the wild.

Their new home has been subject to a pest control programme since 2003, meaning the duo will have 5500ha of stoat and feral cat-free forest, and a core area of 650ha with no rats and possums.

The birds will be flown by Air New Zealand to Kerikeri before their release.

- NZ Herald

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