Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Returning Chatham Islands tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae chathamensis) to Chatham Island

TitleReturning Chatham Islands tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae chathamensis) to Chatham Island
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsBell, M, Tuanui, EA, Tuanui, BM
Type of ArticleFull article
Keywordscaptivity, Chatham Islands tui, post-release monitoring, soft release, translocations

The Chatham Islands tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae chathamensis) is a large forest honeyeater with a threat ranking of nationally endangered. It is restricted to a single population commuting between Pitt and South East Islands, with an estimated global population of 260 adults. We carried out a translocation of 54 juvenile tui from South East Island (42 females, 12 males) to the Awatotara Valley, Chatham Island in March 2009 (14 birds) and February 2010 (40 birds). Tui were held captive in an aviary for 2-8 days on the source island, and 3-6 days at the release site. Tui lost weight in captivity prior to transfer, but birds held for longer periods recouped more weight than those held briefly. Post-release survival was high; all birds from the 2009 cohort survived their first winter to breed at the release site. Survival of the 2010 cohort was less (54%), but this may have been due to our reduced ability to detect birds following wider dispersal. This translocation was part of a community project and has seen unprecedented support from the Chatham Island community and is a major step forward in the development of community driven conservation in the Chatham Islands.

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