For a bird that was declared extinct until 1948, the news that the annual takahē count identified more than 400 birds for the first time in at least a century is heart-warming for all involved in their recovery.
The Department of Conservation, Fulton Hogan’s partners in the Takahe Recovery Programme, says the population has reached a high of 418 after a record breeding season that produced 65 takahē chicks. Breeding pair numbers have more than doubled in the past six years, from 66 in 2013 to 130 today.
Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage says it is “great news” for takahē
“I congratulate all those involved in the Takahē Recovery Programme for their tremendous work in growing the population of this once critically-endangered taonga. This includes the dedicated and skilled DOC staff who work hands-on with takahē and programme partners Ngāi Tahu and Fulton Hogan whose support has been instrumental in the takahē recovery gains being achieved,” Ms Sage said.
“Science-based conservation techniques are behind the DOC Takahē Recovery Programme’s success in increasing the population’s annual growth rate to more than 10 per cent,” Ms Sage said.
About two-thirds of the takahē population is spread across 18 secure island and mainland sanctuaries.
“While the overall population number is good news, the number of breeding pairs is a more accurate indicator of population health. Takahē breeding pairs show a good gender and age balance and this is critical in keeping pushing takahē further away from extinction,” Ms Sage said.