12:17 PM Tuesday May 13, 2014
Forty tieke (saddleback) and 40 popokotea (whitehead) are being flown from Hauturu o Toi (Little Barrier) to Rotoroa Island today - the first wildlife species to be introduced to this unique new wildlife reserve in the making.
The relocations follow extensive planting, monitoring and pest eradication on Rotoroa, and mark the start of an ambitious 25-year plan by Auckland Zoo and the Rotoroa Island Trust (RIT) that includes introducing up to 20 new species by 2018.
Kiwi, Duvaucel's gecko and moko skink are among other wildlife planned for release later this year.
"Together with our RIT partners, we're taking a very new approach to creating a wildlife reserve. We're aiming to help secure New Zealand's unique biodiversity in a way that's a deliberate departure from what's been done before," says Auckland Zoo director, Jonathan Wilcken.
"We will be introducing species at a greatly accelerated rate and including wildlife that wouldn't necessarily have been found on Rotoroa Island before. In doing so, we aim to create a diverse and novel ecosystem, and one which will allow us to showcase the sort of interventionist approach to conserving wildlife that New Zealand is increasingly becoming known for around the world.