Nearly a dozen critically endangered native birds, including a takahe that vanished from a state breeding facility, died under direct care of the Department of Conservation in the past financial year.
One takahe was killed by a falcon or hawk and a pair of avian foster parents killed two freshly hatched black stilts in their care.
The revelations emerged from an Official Information Act request for details about all rare New Zealand fauna that died in the department's care during the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.
Takahe are critically endangered.
Work to save the species has involved gathering eggs from the Murchison Mountains and hatching them at the DOC-run Burwood Bush Takahe Rearing Unit, near Te Anau.
Takahe numbers increased from a low of 118 in 1982 to about 270 today.
But in the past financial year there were five deaths at the Te Anau unit.
An adult takahe died in June, most likely at the talons of a hawk or falcon.
The birth-death ratio represents a survival rate of 86.6 per cent. During the same period, 14 takahe reared at the unit were transferred to sanctuaries.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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