Rare bird gets zoo treatment

OLIVIA WANNAN
Last updated 17:08 01/02/2013
Taiko

SPECIAL TREATMENT: A rare taiko had been flown up from the Chatham Islands for medical treatment.

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One of the world's rarest birds arrived at Wellington Zoo today for treatment, after failing to leave its nest.

The taiko, also known as a magenta petrel, was flown from the Chatham Islands for treatment when monitoring showed the young bird was severely underweight.

The bird will be treated at the Zoo's hospital, the Nest, by the same team that treated Happy Feet, the penguin found on Peka Peka Beach in June 2011.

The juvenile seabird is one of the rarest bird species, currently critically endangered, with as few as 120 remaining in the wild.

The Zoo veterinary team, led by Dr Lisa Argilla, will run tests on the sick bird during the weekend.

Members of the public will be able to catch a glimpse of the rare fledgling when x-rays are taken of it on Sunday.

Only one other taiko has been brought to the New Zealand mainland from the species' breeding ground in the Chatham Islands - another sick bird successfully treated by Wellington Zoo in 2011.

Taiko once bred in huge numbers in the southwest of Chatham Island before the species was decimated by introduced mammals.

The birds were considered extinct until 1978 when a small number were rediscovered by New Zealand ornithologist David Crockett.

They are currently closely monitored by the Conservation Department and the Chatham Islands Taiko Trust.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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