Threatened Stitchbirds return to mainland
Sixty Stitchbirds will be transferred to the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary near Wellington, on New Zealand's North Island.
Up to thirty Stitchbirds Notiomystis cincta will be transferred from the predator-free island of Tiritiri Matangi in mid February 2005, with another thirty moved in May. The last time the species was found on the New Zealand mainland was in the 1880s.
The transfer of Stitchbirds (known locally as Hihi) from Tiritiri Matangi Island to Karori Wildlife Sanctuary is the first step of Department of Conservation's new five-year recovery plan for the species. The only self-sustaining population is found on Little Barrier Island and there are two introduced managed populations - on Kapiti and Tiritiri Matangi islands.
The Hihi–Stitchbird Recovery Plan was launched on 16 January by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Chris Carter on Tiritiri Matangi Island. "The challenge is to take what works on Little Barrier and try to replicate it on other islands and the mainland. With research, careful management, and public support Hihi have a real chance of getting a foothold on the mainland and surviving long term," Helen Clark said.