Monday, April 9, 2012

Two takahe today

Over Easter we had housepests from Ngunguru (readers overseas: don’t worry, many New Zealanders couldn’t pronounce it either). Not far from our house is Maungatautari Ecological Island, a bird sanctuary consisting of 2400 hectares of native bush inside a 47-kilometre fence that keeps out predators such as rats and stoats. As DOC says, “it is the largest project of this type on mainland New Zealand and possibly in the world”. Inside the fence, endangered species such as kiwi, takahe and hihi are safe and can breed. And apart from the nocturnal kiwis, you can see and hear them all.

So we like to take visitors there. Last year we took friends from England and saw one takahe waddling through the bush about five metres away. This year our friends from Northland were treated to the pair above, who constitute about one per cent of the world’s population of takahe. Fantastic. It’s probably equivalent to seeing 10 billion pigeons or seagulls at once. 

I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help wondering what they’d taste like. Probably like turkey so one wouldn’t really bother, but still…

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