Bird breeding programme success for Marlborough Sounds nature reserve

Leona and Ellen Plaisier taking yellow crowned kakariki from the aviaries at Tui Nature Reserve for release in the Abel ...
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Leona and Ellen Plaisier taking yellow crowned kakariki from the aviaries at Tui Nature Reserve for release in the Abel Tasman area.

Tui Nature Reserve Wildlife Trust celebrated their first release of yellow crowned kakariki this week.

The reserve, in Outer Pelorus Sound, successfully released eight of the kakariki from their breeding programme. The birds were all hatched and raised in purpose-built aviaries on the Marlborough Sounds reserve with the aim of releasing them in predator free areas.

Tui Nature Reserve co-owner Brian Plaisier says the eight kakariki were taken to Nelson to be released at Project Janszoon in the Abel Tasman area.

A tellow crowned kakariki.
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A tellow crowned kakariki.

He says the transfer of the birds is part of a breeding programme between Tui Nature Reserve and other conservation organisations Lochmara Lodge, EcoWorld Picton Aquarium in Marlborough and Natureland Wildlife Trust in Nelson.

"Exchanging the birds meant good breeding pairs could be established, and more yellow crowned kakariki will be transferred off the reserve later this year," Brian says.

This week's transfer of the eight kakariki marks a major achievement for the nature reserve, which is also involved in the breeding of other native species for release, including giant weta.

A number of the insects were released on Puangiangi Island, near d'Urville Island last year, with more planned for this year, Brian says.

The success of the reserve's breeding programmes so far, and the growing demand for native species to release in predator-free areas, means the nature reserve is looking at options to expand its programme, says Brian. "This will contribute to the reverse of our rapidly declining wildlife."

Meanwhile, the ongoing restoration of the nature reserve's own 80 hectares of prime native habitat - a combined effort between them and the neighbouring Sealife Trust - is on target with the installation of automatic trapping systems.

The construction of a predator control fence to deter pigs and goats is also in its last stage, he says.

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Brian says the success of the breeding programmes has been possible thanks to funding from the Lottery Commission supported by the Queen Elizabeth II Trust.

Other contributors were Project Janszoon Kakariki co-ordinator Rosemary Vander Lee and the Department of Conservation, he says.

The Tui Nature Reserve will hold a number of open days this year for the public to visit the breeding facilities and the Tui conservation sanctuary, dates will be notified closer to the time.

 - The Marlborough Express

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