© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Takahē centres on track for record breeding season

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Takahē numbers are on the rise as the Department of Conservation gets more of the rare birds to breed.

DOC runs 19 sanctuaries for Takahē, but most are nearing capacity as the number of successfully breeding pairs grows.  

The Burwood Takahē Centre, in Southland, has 300 birds, 23 of which were scheduled to move to Kahurangi National Forest early last month to make room and boost populations in the wild. 

However, because of a a mild winter the Takahē mated early and cannot be moved until next year.

DOC Takahē Operations Manager Deidre Vercoe said the Takahē team put in a big effort to prepare for the transfer, but unfortunately the birds had other things on their minds.

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Kahurangi National park was chosen for the relocation,  not only because of it's lack of predators and sustainable food and water sources but because one of the country's Great Walks runs through the  middle.

Senior Takahe Ranger Glen Greaves said now that they've secured the species in sanctuaries, the next move is re-establishing the birds to places they once existed.

Greaves said seeing  takahe in the wild is a very special thing and he wants everybody to be able to experience it. 

The Department of Conservation hopes to have a minmum of 90 breeding pairs before 2026.

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DOC staff prepare to release takahē in the Murchison mountains. DOC

The centre did not have the space for all 300 birds so DoC has now built two new territories.

Senior Takahē  Ranger, Glen Greaves, said the enclosures had been planned for a while but construction finally started as soon as the relocation fell through.

He said the new enclosures are a really positive result for the Recovery Programme in helping support the growing takahē population.

At nearly 135 hectares, the centre is now double the size of the original built in the 80's.

The new territories have the capacity for 50 birds, meaning even more birds can be raised at the sanctuary so Takahē population will continue to grow.