The biggest mottled petrel chick relocation ever attempted has been completed after a batch of young birds were moved 1131 kilometres from Codfish Island to mainland New Zealand.
Seabirds gather by fishing boat.
Source: 1 NEWS
Also known as korure, the 99 chicks were put into new nests in the Maungaharuru range in Hawke's Bay last week as part of a broader plan to help seabirds repopulate the region.
They will now spend four-to-six weeks at the Maungaharuru site where they will be hand fed sardine smoothies and have their health monitored by DOC staff and volunteers.
When ready, they should then spend three to four years at sea before returning to Maungaharuru to nest after first taking a mental picture of the site when they emerge from their burrow.
DOC's Connie Norgate expects the relocated chicks to return to Maungaharuru rather than their original home on Codfish Island because they were moved at an age before they would normally leave their burrows.
And with the relocation programme running since 2014, the first korure's were already returning to Maungaharuru, she said.
"In January this year, we had one adult return from one of our earlier translocations, providing excitement and evidence that the manu (birds) will return to the site they fledged from," she said.
With seabird populations previously numbering in their millions at Maungaharuru, efforts to regrow the colonies were important, Ms Norgate said.
She said korure were culturally significant to Maori and ecologically important in part because of the nutrients from the sea that they deposit into native bush.