30 May 2015

New home for tieke in Bay of Islands

10:16 am on 30 May 2015

Three pest-free islands will soon provide safe havens for two endemic birds, one of which is rarely seen on the mainland.

A juvenile saddleback (tieke)

A juvenile tieke takes a closer look at the camera. Photo: Leon Berard / CC BY-NC 2.0

Today, 40 tieke (saddleback) and 40 popokotea (whitehead) are being relocated as part of decades-long Project Island Song, to restore biodiversity on islands in the Bay of Islands.

A spokesperson for Guardians of the Bay, Richard Robbins, said tieke had not been seen on the mainland in about a century.

Because the islands are very close to the mainland, Mr Robbins said everyone needed to make sure they were not bringing any unwanted pests with them.

"We have an array of pest management to try and protect the island from pests reinvading the islands," he said.

But, he said, the islands would be a great destination for visitors. "It's also hugely beneficial for people to visit and actually see these species returning to the islands."

Mr Robbins said before the eradication process began in 2003, the islands were infested with pests.

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