Thirty-nine toutouwai or New Zealand Robins are now at home in Palmerston North's Turitea Reserve. Robins haven't been seen in the 4000ha reserve for generations because predators such as stoats and rats had driven the birds away.
The robins were painstakingly translocated last month from Bushy Park, Tarapuruhi, north of Whanganui. Releasing the birds into their new habitat was an incredible achievement.
But it has taken considerable preparation to get them there. Palmerston North City Council has spent 15 years restoring native plants and predator trapping at Turitea Bush Reserve.
"This project was built on the back of years of investment by the community," Adam Jarvis, Senior Climate Change Adviser for Palmerston North City Council said.
"We've worked with the community to place thousands of traps in over 40sq km of the Turitea Reserve and connect that bush to the city through the Green Corridors restoration projects, so it's very exciting to finally get to this point."
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Massey University Professor Doug Armstrong and Dr Zoe Stone were on-site during the capture to attach a small transmitter weighing just two grams to each bird. These will assist researchers to keep track of the birds in their new vast home at Turitea.
Rangitāne are kaitiaki of the reserve, and a partner for the project. Paul Horton, Te Ao Turoa Environmental Officer at Tanenuiarangi Manawatū Incorporated, said the translocation of the toutouwai was a great opportunity.
"In this case, we're reintroducing a species that would have once been here. I look forward to having the opportunity to interact with them now they're in Turitea. Seeing them flying around in the ngahere, and interacting with them and other taonga is something Rangitāne respects as a huge responsibility. We hope they flourish and we're appreciative of all the support from the Council, Massey and the other organisations and people who have worked together to make this happen."
Video courtesy of Pamerston North City Council.
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