Monday, November 29, 2021

Translocations of North Island kokako, 1981-2011

TitleTranslocations of North Island kokako, 1981-2011
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsInnes, J, Molles, LE, Speed, H
Type of ArticleFull article
Keywordsconservation, ecological restoration, New Zealand birds, translocation

The North Island kokako (Callaeas wilsoni) is a threatened endemic passerine whose distribution has declined greatly on the New Zealand mainland due primarily to predation by ship rats (Rattus rattus) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). It persists in 21 populations, of which 10 (48%) have been established by translocation, and 1 has been supplemented by translocation. Of the 11 populations subject to translocation, 4 are on islands and the remainder are on the mainland; 7 translocations have resulted in successful new or supplemented populations and another 4 translocations are in progress. Translocations to another 5 sites did not establish breeding populations for various reasons. In total, there were 94 translocations of 286 kokako to the 16 sites, and the number released at a site averaged 18 (range 3-33) birds. Kokako were released at a site over an average period of 49 months (range 1-159 months) with a mean of 3 birds (maximum 10) released per day. The small numbers of kokako released and the long time required to complete a translocation were due to the difficulty and high expense of catching kokako. Translocations will continue to be important for the conservation of this species, to establish further new populations and to limit inbreeding depression and allele loss in existing populations.

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