Just this week we heard news that a third zoo-bred Regent Honeyeaters has been spotted alive and well following another sighting in early June by a land-holder at Holbrook NSW.
It’s now over 15 months since we released these almost-extinct birds back to their Ironbark Forest habitat at Chiltern, in Victoria, as part of the recovery program. The second bird had flown over 100 kilometres to Holbrook while the other two are still being recorded in Chiltern.
This is excellent news for us Bird Keepers as so much effort, both physical and emotional, has gone in to this conservation breeding program.
When the program started many years ago, we were just hopeful that we’d be able to keep them in the Zoo to learn more about them, but then we were successfully able to breed them and the program has evolved again so we can release them back into the wild.
It’s gone from strength-to-strength as these two sightings now show us that we have the potential to breed them here at Taronga Zoo and return these wild-caught-ancestors to boost wild populations.
A team of us at the Zoo also worked really hard to restore habitat for the Regent too. It will be a good 20 plus years before these trees will be mature enough to provide blossom for the Regents, and you have moments of doubt where you wonder if they’ll still be around then to make use of this future habitat, but these sightings really are proof that we are making a difference!
- Michael, Bird Keeper