Two takahe move to the big city

LEGGING IT: One   of Zealandia's two new takahe  arrivals dashes off into its new pen at the Wellington wildlife sanctuary under the watchful eye of conservation manager Raewyn Empson and other staff.
LEGGING IT: One of Zealandia's two new takahe arrivals dashes off into its new pen at the Wellington wildlife sanctuary under the watchful eye of conservation manager Raewyn Empson and other staff.

Leaving home for the first time is a big move for anyone, especially if you're about to step in to history.

Puffin and T2, a pair of rare takahe, are about to become the first of their kind at Zealandia, where the 15-year-olds will spend their "retirement" after shifting from their Mana Island birthplace yesterday.

The duo have spent the past month undergoing tests and being kept in quarantine for the move. They will be given a chance to settle into their new home away from public view, but staff hope visitors will eventually be able to see them in the wild.

"We want to give these guys the best chance of feeling comfortable in their new environment," conservation manager Raewyn Emspon said. "Fingers crossed they will love the area we are releasing them in and will over time feel relaxed around people."

Takahe have previously been transferred to Pukaha Mt Bruce and Maungatautari sanctuary near Cambridge.

Ms Empson said they were the 17th native species to be introduced to the sanctuary.

Puffin and T2 had not bred successfully since 2004 so were moved by the Conservation Department to make room for another breeding pair.

The Dominion Post