On 2 July, 69 South Island robins/kakaruwai were released onto pest-free Coal Island in Preservation Inlet.
The robins were captured over two days on Anchor Island in Dusky Sound by members of the South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust (SWNZESCT), volunteers and DOC staff.
Trust chairman Ali King said, "It is fantastic to see robins on the island, attesting to the hard work over the years from Trust members and volunteers keeping Coal Island pest free".
"Haast kiwi have been translocated to Coal Island over the years, and it is assumed they are now breeding. The Trust has high hopes that the robins will be similarly successful in their new home," he said.
Lindsay Wilson, DOC Conservation Services Manager (Fiordland) said, "The hard work of the Trust in making Coal Island pest free is a marvellous achievement. We believe this is the first time South Island robins have been on Coal Island in almost 100 years".
Coal Island has never had some pest species such as possums, goats or feral cats, and while rats may once have been present, they have not been recorded in the last century. Intensive pest control efforts by SWNZESCT since 2004 have successfully eradicated mice, red deer and stoats from the island, although ongoing efforts are required to prevent re-establishment of deer and stoats.
Robins are very vulnerable to rat plague events and have already disappeared from many mainland areas. They were numerous on Coal Island in the 1800s.