A further 14 toutouwai/North Island robin have been released on Mt Taranaki on Tuesday 11 April, meaning a total of 50 birds have been translocated from Pureora Forest Park to Mt Taranaki in the last 3 days.
The toutouwai are the first species to be returned by environmental project Taranaki Mounga. 36 birds were released on the northern slopes of the mountain on Sunday, and this further release brings the total to 50.
Reports from people walking in the release area a day after the first release were that the forest was alive with the sound of the birds and they were singing loud and strong. After the Sunday release DOC staff and volunteers and staff from Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust returned to Pureora Forest Park to catch more birds.
The last sighting of toutouwai/North Island robin on Mt Taranaki was 1905 meaning the birds have not been seen on the Mounga since for over 110-years. Taranaki Mounga chairman Jamie Tuuta says returning toutouwai to the Mounga is very significant as it marks a first for Taranaki Mounga.
“For me personally to be able to hear the voices of the toutouwai, to hear their song which we haven’t heard for many years and to enjoy that song and bring my children back here, that’s something special. Taranaki Mounga is about He Kawa Ora and that speaks to revitalising life back here on the Mounga, from flora and fauna to also engaging our community, and our iwi, and those who care for Taranaki and his well being,” he says.
Taranaki and Te Atiawa iwi leaders have collaborated with Ngati Rereahu, the mana whenua of Pureora Forest Park, to bring the birds to Taranaki. Francis Hughes from Ngati Rereahu was at the first bird release on Sunday and said her role is to make sure the toutouwai are safe.
“We can see that they’re going to be protected here, its just that smooth transition from one paradise to another,” she says.