As few as 40 New Zealand Fairy Terns remain in the wild (DoC).

Animals New Zealand28. March 2024

Nesting Success for This Rare Bird!

One of New Zealand’s endemic and rarest native breeding birds had its most productive nesting season in a long time, thanks to a strategy deployed by the Auckland Zoo.

“This season marks a remarkable success story, thanks to the continued refinement of our management strategies, the expansion of our predator control initiatives, and notably, the absence of extreme weather events that have plagued us in recent years,” explains Alex Wilson, Department of Conservation senior ranger biodiversity.

Only 40 individuals of the New Zealand Fairy Tern – tara iti, known by its local name – and yet 22 eggs were laid during the nesting seasons, which takes place between Whangarei and Auckland in the North Island. Eighteen hatched, and 13 have already fledged. This success story is partly due to the hand-rearing strategy the Auckland Zoo developed to boost future numbers. They rescued weather-imperiled eggs and proactively increased seasonal chick production through intensive management. That way, the tara iti population has a chance to reach the critical threshold at which they can become self-sustaining again. It is currently classed as Nationally Critical on the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

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