12 Jan 2013

Rare birds moved to new habitat

3:06 pm on 12 January 2013

Rare New Zealand birds have been transferred from the subantarctic Snares Islands to a new home, to help protect the species from extinction.

Snares Island snipe, also known as tutukiwi for its long beak and ground living habit, were once widespread in New Zealand but were wiped out from the mainland and many islands by predators like rats and ferrets.

Of a population of about 200 on the islands, 30 have been moved to Codfish Island / Whenua Hou, off Stewart Island.

A South Island biodiversity ranger for DoC, Jo Hiscock, says starting a new population of the bird is a precaution against extinction.

Snipe transferred in 2005 from the Snares to Putauhinu Island, off the south-west coast of Stewart Island, have grown to an estimated population of over 500 birds.