As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

DOC records 11 rare birds die in past year

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 at the talons of a falcon or hawk and a pair of avian foster parents killed two newly 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 DOC's care during the period from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013.

Takahe are critically endangered and were brought to the brink of extinction because of introduced predators, primarily stoats, and red deer that ate their food supply and destroyed their habitat.

There were four recorded sightings of the bird between 1800 and 1900, and, in 1948, Dr Geoffrey Orbell found takahe alive in the remote Murchison Mountains of Fiordland National Park.

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.

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