16 Apr 2009

Rare birds moved to Dunedin sanctuary

4:04 pm on 16 April 2009

Thirty-six South Island saddlebacks are spreading their wings in Dunedin after a century-long absence from the mainland.

The rare birds, which have been living on Ulva Island near Stewart Island, have been moved to Dunedin's Orakanui eco-sanctuary.

Spokesperson Chris Baillie says the area inside a predator proof fence has been free of stoats and rats for over a year, making a future on the mainland more viable for the endangered species.

She hopes the saddlebacks may eventually explore urban Dunedin once they are well established at Orakanui sanctuary.