Monday, July 11, 2011

Back From The Dead

Another conservation landmark...kokako are breeding on Secretary Island in Doubtful Sound.
This is the first time in more than 30 years that kokako have bred in the South Island, following the extinction of the South Island kokako. 27 North Island kokako were transferred to Secretary Island during 2008-2009, in a bid to re-establish kokako in Fiordland. Department of Conservation spotted a young kokaho there in March, confirming the released birds are breeding and raising chicks.
Kokako were once widespread across NZ forests, one subspecies in the north and another in the South Island, but they are easily killed by rats, possums and stoats. The last confirmed South Island kokako sighting was in 1967 and by the late 1980s there were as few as 350 pairs left in the North Island. In 2007 DOC sadly conceded the South Island kokako extinct.
kokako juvenile: DOC
However in the last 20 years, North Island kokako have made a strong recovery. Pest control, transfers to secure offshore islands and the efforts of rescue groups mean there are now healthy populations in a number of northern forests. Secretary Island is also home to kaka, kakariki, weka and bellbirds.
Returning kokako to southern forests will not only mean we get to hear their beautiful call, but they are important seed dispersers vital for the regeneration of our forests.
[also read about the kokako successes near Auckland...]

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