One of New Zealand's critically endangered flightless birds is set for a summer like no other, with 30 takahe being released into the wild, edging the species away from the brink of extinction.
The first batch are now getting settled into their new home in rugged Fiordland, replenishing New Zealand's only true wild population of takahe.
"We'll end up with 30 birds [released] this summer, which is by far and away much more than we've ever done. I think the previous record is 18," Martin Denet, Department of Conservation ranger told ONE News.
There are now 280 takahe alive in New Zealand and the bird's threat status is currently listed as "nationally critical".
"It is the worst threat level available. But we're very confident with the program we've got we'll be moving up one one notch in the next few years," Mr Denet said.
That chance to move to "nationally endangered" status comes at the next review of populations in three to four years.
Until then, the focus is on bolstering numbers in the wild.
The Murchison Mountains, where predators like stoats struggle to pillage, is a hugely significant location.
The takahe was once thought to be extinct. But in 1948, Geoffrey Orbell, a doctor from Invercargill, rediscovered the bird in high tussock grasslands in Fiordland.
DOC, in partnership with Ngai Tahu, are achieving record results with their breeding program by providing a safe "family zone" just outside Te Anau.
Fifteen have been released already, with another 15 to go, providing a bright start to the best summer since the breeding programme started.
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