Recovery programme sees two more takahē released onto Rotoroa Island

A pair of takahē have been released on Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf as part of a programme to save the endangered species.

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Rotoroa Island is now home to two young takahe. Source: 1 NEWS

Southlanders, Mulgrew, the male and Fyffe, the female are both just over a year old, and have been expertly matched, in the hope that they’ll produce healthy off spring.

"We're hoping for a budding romance," says Rotoroa Island ecologist Jo Ritchie.

"Hopefully in years to come, Fyffe and Mulgrew will have children. They’ll grow to a certain age and they'll then go back to the South Island where the Department of Conservation trains them to eat tussock and then pairs them up. And on the romance goes."

Takahē once roamed in large numbers across New Zealand, but habitat loss, hunting and predators almost wiped them out. They were thought to be extinct until 70 years ago, when they were rediscovered in Fiordland’s Murchison Mountains.

There were less than 100 takahē left in the wild, but DOC’s recovery programme has brought numbers up to more than 370.

"It’s really important for the genetic diversity of this species that we move the takahē around the country," Ms Ritchie says.

Mulgrew and Fyffe will join 5 other takahē on the predator free island, which is one of only a few New Zealand sites where the public can see a takahē up close.