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Establishing a new population of Hihi (stitchbird) with Bushy Park Trust

The hihi is a small honey-eater-like bird, endemic to the North Island of New Zealand, with a diverse diet of insects and flowering plant species. The hihi is a highly active bird which calls frequently with their, tsit tsit sound the likely source of its common English name, sounding something like stitch. The hihi was relatively common early in the early 19th Century, but declined quickly afterwards, with the last sighting on the mainland in the 1880s.

As with many New Zealand birds, the Hihi has suffered from introduced predators, competitors and habitat modification until, by 1890, it survived only on Little Barrier Island. The Hihi Recovery Group has set a goal of five new populations to protect the species. Two new populations have already been established successfully under intense management. The next translocation will involve moving 60 birds to Bushy Park Sanctuary, a 100 hectare area of mature, lowland rain-forest that has been protected by a predator-proof fence since 2005. Conservation impact is aimed at improving the current “threatened” status of the hihi as well as restoring a key component to the forest ecosystem.

Bushy Park is a much-loved regional asset. Its facilities, including an extensive predator excluding fence, have been established with the help of local and national funders and an awe-inspiring level of voluntary work.

What can you do? Feral animals present one of the greatest threats to the hihi and many Australian native animals, you can help all Australian wildlife by being a responsible pet owner – keep your pet inside or on a lead. http://taronga.org.au/support-us/take-action/positive-actions-wildlife/positive-actions-wildlife

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