The arrival of a new family of takahē at the Te Anau Wildlife Park attracted a large crowd of Te Anau residents and visitors last Tuesday evening. Over one hundred people turned out to welcome the birds and enjoy an evening picnic and entertainment.
DOC ranger Glen Greaves with Fiordland Kindergarten children prepares to release Tawa
“It was a fantastic turn out for a small town at a very busy time of year, “said Department of Conservation (DOC) Takahē programme manager Phil Tisch. “Mind you the opportunity to view a takahē chick up close is quite a rare treat”.
The crowd gathered prior to the release to hear the announcement of the winning entry in a ‘name the takahē chick’ competition run by DOC that attracted entrants from around the world. Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno selected the name Tawa from a short-list of finalists before helping to release the chick and its parents into the park. The name Tawa is a combination of the names of the chick’s foster parents Tumbles and Kawa and was suggested by two entrants: Fiordland Kindergarten and Glenda Waugh of Dunedin.
The 7-week old chick was transferred to the park with its foster parents from the Burwood Bush Takahē Rearing Unit. Tumbles and Kawa are infertile birds and were removed from the breeding population to prevent them pairing with fertile birds. Luckily, as with most takahē, they are happy to foster other takahē chicks and possibly hatch fertile eggs taken from other pairs at Burwood Bush.
Tumbles and Tawa
With the birds so close to Burwood Bush they will continue to play a number of important roles, not only raising awareness of takahē conservation and supporting tourism in Fiordland, but also supporting the growing takahē population by incubating and hatching eggs and rearing chicks.
Following the release of the takahē at the Te Anau Wildlife Park the crowd was entertained at the ‘Chick Picnic’ with a BBQ, music from local group ‘The Doubtful Sounds’, games and competitions with prizes donated by the local Mitre 10 store.