“LITTLE PUFFBALLS – the newly-hatched Te Anau takahe chicks will help with the species’ population recovery.
Department of Conservation (Doc) Te Anau Bird Sanctuary ranger Kiri Klein said there were two pairs of resident takahe at the sanctuary, one pair with two 2-week-old foster chicks.
“Very cute, really hard to see because they are really good parents and secretive with their chicks, which is good because it keeps them safe.”
The second pair had also just gone down to nest.
“We’re hoping to get them a foster egg so they can raise a foster chick for themselves as well.”
Once grown, the chicks would be transported to the Burwood Takahe Centre for a “boot camp” to learn how to be takahe in a natural environment.
She described them as little black balls of fluff with legs and a grey beak.
Doc takahe sanctuary sites ranger Phil Marsh said the takahe recovery team were working to build up the takahe population.
“Our main aim ultimately is to produce enough birds in captive environments to be able to release into wild populations.”
Population numbers were at about the 445 mark.
In the wild, takahe faced challenges such as predation, drowning and falling from heights such as cliffs.
He said they had been lucky in that about 80% of takahe eggs had been fertile.
It was important to protect the species so as to “not lose them again” lost in the mid 1900s.
“We want to ensure that in years to come every New Zealander can easily see a takahe on Mainland New Zealand.”
In the past five years, about five eggs had been hatched at the sanctuary, which had not been the resident pair’s eggs.