Wellington Scoop

Rare breeding takahē pair coming to Zealandia from Mana Island

Press Release – Zealandia
A breeding pair of takahē are to be released into the Zealandia eco-sanctuary next Monday. The pair, named Nio and Orbell, are 14 and 17 and currently on Mana Island Scientific Reserve, west of Porirua.

Dr. Danielle Shanahan, Manager of Conservation and Research at the Wellington ecosanctuary, made the announcement this afternoon.

“There is every possibility they could breed at Zealandia this summer, which is incredible news for Wellington and our ongoing success in conservation.”

The takahē have been paired since 2013 and produced four chicks together. Orbell is named after Geoffry Orbell, the physician who rediscovered takahē in 1948, when they were widely thought to be extinct.

Takahē Advocacy Ranger Julie Harvey has been supportive of the translocation and looks forward to seeing the pair adjust to their new home.

“Zealandia has been a great site for engagement for a long time, with high visitor numbers and a passionate crew to tell the takahē story,” said Harvey.

“We’re excited to continue that story for Wellingtonians, and hopefully with some takahē chicks!”

If the pair do breed at the sanctuary, it is likely that the chicks will be allowed to mature before being moved to other sites for genetic diversity.

Zealandia’s current resident takahē, T2, is 22 years old — advanced years for a takahē. He will be moved to a quieter area of the sanctuary to live out his final years and will be closely monitored by Rangers.

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