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45 black stilt released to boost wild population of just 130 birds

09/09/2012 13:54:19

Black stilt/kakī release at Lake Tekapo

Stilt released at Lake Tekapo
September 2012. The release of 45 young black stilt/kakī by the Department of Conservation will boost the numbers of this critically endangered species in the wild. They join 25 others set free earlier this month west of Lake Tekapo and were reared at the DOC aviaries near Twizel and by the Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust at Peacock Springs.

Kakī is one of New Zealand's most challenging endemic bird species to manage, says DOC programme manager Dean Nelson.

Controlling a range of predators and other threats such as weeds and disturbance by people and vehicles, over a large and changing braided river habitat is difficult, he says. "We are very successful at raising young birds but the next challenge is to effectively control the threats in the wild."

Black stilt/kakī are found only in the braided rivers and wetlands of the upper Waitaki and Mackenzie basins. Key needs for the kakī programme include further research on controlling threats and more aviary space to increase the captive breeding programme, he says. Black stilt/kakī have been brought back from the brink of extinction by intensive conservation management over the past 30 years. The wild population numbers about 130 birds.

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust is a key partner in kakī conservation with a captive breeding programme at Peacock Springs near Christchurch.


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