Mike Watson13:49, Feb 10 2019
A Taranaki native bird sanctuary has made a conservation breakthrough in recording the calls of one of New Zealand's rarest birds without disturbing their natural behaviour.
Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust (RSRT), with the help of scientists from the Zoological Society London (ZSL), used remote recorders to listen in on the bird call of the hihi, or stitchbird.
The recording method is being touted as a breakthrough for conservation.
Endangered juvenile hihi from Tiritiri Matangi Island were released in Rotokare Scenic Reserve in 2017.
Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust sanctuary manager Simon Collins said hihi, meaning 'first ray of sunshine', was associated with health in Maori culture.
"Essentially, they're an age-old indicator of a healthy forest. Not only are they important to protect but have proved to be a unique and ideal model to study the effectiveness of this new technique, which has huge potential for reintroduction programmes for other species," he said.