Date: 04 May 2012
Rakiura, a 10 year-old female kakapo, who has spent the last 19 days at Auckland Zoo, is on her way to join seven other kakapo on Little Barrier Barrier Island (Hauturu) today.
Rakiura was captured on Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, near Stewart Island, on Saturday April 18 along with five other kakapo. Two more kakapo were captured on the same day on Anchor Island in Fiordland.
Story continues below photo
Rakiura at Auckland Zoo
All eight of the flightless native parrots were then taken by helicopter to Invercargill airport, where they were placed on an Air New Zealand domestic flights to Christchurch, then Auckland. Rakiura was meant to be freed with the others that day, but an infection meant she was taken to Auckland Zoo for treatment instead.
Now, the healthy Rakiura is joining the seven other kakapo who were released on Little Barrier on April 18. She's being driven to Warkworth and then flown by helicopter to the island.
Kakapo have been released on Little Barrier to see if they can successfully raise chicks there without aid. Their progress will be closely monitored and support will be provided, if it's required, to keep the birds alive.
Kakapo were living on Little Barrier from 1982 to 1999. They were removed when kiore (Pacific rats) were eradicated from the island. Four of the kakapo released on April 18 had lived on Little Barrier before: Ox and Merty (male) and Flossie and Heather (female).
Rakiura is Flossie's daughter and has never lived on Little Barrier before. The other kakapo new to the island are Tiwai (15), Doc (10), both males, and Hananui (10) a female.