Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Translocation of hihi Notiomystis cincta to Maungatautari, a mainland reserve protected by a predator-exclusion fence, Waikato, New Zealand

Published source details

Ewen J.G., Parker K.A., Richardson K., Armstrong D. & Smuts-Kennedy C. (2011) Translocation of hihi Notiomystis cincta to Maungatautari, a mainland reserve protected by a predator-exclusion fence, Waikato, New Zealand. Conservation Evidence, 8, 58-65

Summary

In March 2009, 79 hihi (stitchbird) Notiomystis cincta were translocated from Tiritiri Matangi and Little Barrier (Hauturu) Islands to Maungatautari, a 3,255 ha New Zealand mainland reserve with a predator (exotic mammals) exclusion fence. Genetic management, by mixing founders from both a reintroduced and highly productive site (Tiritiri Matangi) and the only naturally occurring extant population (Little Barrier), appears successful with at least one mixed pairing producing fledglings in the first breeding season after release. Monitoring this population is challenging due to the large area and rugged terrain of the reserve.  However, closed mark-recapture analysis based on a 15-day survey about 1 year after release indicated that between 15 and 41 (19 - 52%) of the translocated hihi had survived.  Unringed hihi were also observed during this survey (25 observations but it is unknown how many of these were the same individuals), indicating successful breeding in the first year. If they persist and thrive in the longer term, this translocation will provide an important hihi population at a large mainland site and will contribute to the ongoing ecological restoration of Maungatautari.