Native North Island robins are back home among a Wainuiomata forest after being wiped out by rodents there about 120 years ago.
Sixty of the forest songsters - also known as toutouwai - were returned to the Wainuiomata Mainland Island yesterday, in an effort to boost a self-sustaining robin population there for the first time since 1890.
The rehoming was done by Greater Wellington Regional Council, which manages the upper Wainuiomata-Orongorongo Valley forest.
Environmental wellbeing committee chairwoman Barbara Donaldson said the native forest was never logged or burnt, but the birds were killed off by rats and other introduced predators.
Before that, it had been the last mainland bastion in the Wellington region for robins.
The robins were caught from Kāpiti Island at the weekend and flown to the Wainuiomata forest by helicopter for release, before being ceremonially handed over from Ngāti Toa Rangatira to Taranaki Whānui.
The Department of Conservation describes the North Island robin as a friendly and trusting bird, often coming to within a couple of metres to people, and occasionally standing on a person's boot.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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