Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed the release of 36 North Island Robin onto Mount Taranaki today.

“The release heralds the return of a species not seen or heard on the Mounga for more than 110 years and is the first of many species to be reintroduced there,” Ms Barry says.

“Local schools and businesses have been farming mealworms to feed to the robin  to encourage them to stay in the protected zone and it’s heartening to see the support the project is getting.”

“There’s also been great support from Ngati Rereahu at Pureora who provided the birds for relocation. Taranaki and Te Atiawa iwi will care for the robin to ensure they flourish in their new home.”

“The relocation wouldn’t have been possible without the large scale predator control work in the area. 1080 has cut predator numbers to very low levels in the release site and a network of 2,000 self-resetting traps will continue to keep rat numbers down.”

“It’s the largest deployment of Goodnature A24 rat traps in New Zealand and shows real commitment to Predator Free 2050,” Ms Barry says.

‘It’s a collaborative partnership between DOC, Taranaki iwi Chairs Forum and NEXT Foundation with founding sponsors Shell New Zealand, TSB Community Trust, Jasmine Social Investments and Landcare Research along with the support and advocacy of local MP Jonathan Young.”

“It’s the first step towards Taranaki Mounga delivering major ecological gains back to the mountain.”

“Robin have a trusting nature and they often come within a couple of metres to people, and occasionally stand on a person’s boot.  That makes them a favourite with people because they can get close to them, unlike other native birds,” Ms Barry says.

Since 1991, populations have been established on several predator-free islands - Mokoia, Tiritiri Matangi, Tuhua, Matiu/Somes, Mana, Moturoa - and several mainland sites encircled by predator-proof fences such as Karori Sanctuary and Bushy Park Reserve.

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