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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  10 September 2021

The team has reared thousands of birds from some of the nation’s most threatened species for release into the wild – and we pay tribute to their mahi this Conservation Week.

The Trust provides the facilities, expert staff, and financial resource to run highly successful captive breeding programmes for five vulnerable taonga species from Peacock Springs, their purpose-built complex in Christchurch.

The species are kākāriki karaka/orange-fronted parakeet (nationally critical), kakī/black stilt (nationally critical), tūturuatu/shore plover (nationally critical), whio/blue duck (nationally vulnerable), and pateke/brown teal (at risk – recovering).

Both captive breeding pairs and eggs gathered from the wild are used in these programmes.

ICWT Wildlife Assistant Manager Leigh Percasky says while the work can be challenging, it’s always extremely rewarding to see the birds sent out to add to the wild population.

“Getting these sensitive species to successfully breed in captivity, and then raising the chicks until they are ready to be released, can be tricky work.

“We now have years of experience and expertise that we rely on, and the success of our programmes reflects this.

“When the birds are released at the end of a busy season, there’s a feeling of hope for the future of these precious species.”

DOC Eastern South Island Operations Director Nicola Toki says DOC’s partnership with The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust is highly valued and the Trust’s work is vital to the conservation of some of our most threatened species.

“The impact of ICWT’s contribution to New Zealand conservation cannot be overstated.”

“Kākāriki karaka would be extinct in the wild without the expertise and efforts of the Trust. Instead, there are currently more than 300 of these charismatic birds living in three Canterbury mountain valleys and on predator-free Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

“This year, the whio breeding programme was so successful that we were able to release 17 birds into new sites in Arthur’s Pass National Park, as the planned release sites on the West Coast could not accommodate the number of birds that were raised.”

ICWT was established in 2009. ICWT is a self-funding charitable Trust and is the legacy of passionate conservationists, Sir Neil and Lady Diana Isaac. The initial Wildlife Trust was established in 1977.

See The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust website for more information.


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