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Kākā at Bark Bay

New Zealand is lucky to be the home to many wonderful native species with an abundance of bird and reptile life. Unfortunately due to introduced predators most of our native species are endangered or declining in the wild. Luckily we have many dedicated people and organisations throughout New Zealand who are trying to get on top of this decline and are doing something about it. In the Abel Tasman we have Project Janszoon, the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust and other organisations who work with the Department of Conservation to provide trapping programs for the pests and monitor the wild populations of our native species. Project Janszoon has been able to reintroduce many native bird species back into the Abel Taman including releasing a population of South Island Kākā in the Wainui area of the park. And now its Bark Bay’s turn.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Bollongino Project Janszoon

22 South Island Kākā have been released in Bark Bay and Abel Tasman Guides were lucky enough to be invited to help with this project. Our administrative assistant Jenny got to help out volunteering to look after the birds for a few days while they were in the aviary at Bark Bay adapting to the area. She was also lucky enough to be there on release day which was a magical experience. “There is nothing better than seeing these beautiful birds flying around freely in the wild, they look so stunning flying over the trees and inlet and certainly make their presence known with their unique calls.”

These birds have been sourced from either captive breeding programs in the South Island or were collected from wild nests as eggs and brought into captivity to be hand raised. As such these birds are a little more used to people than their wild born cousins and being closely related to Kea means they have a naturally curious and friendly nature. However Project Janszoon and DoC are warning visitors to be careful and not feed or touch these special birds. Feeding them could lead to them eating food that could be harmful to them or will distract them from eating the delicious wild food they need to find for themselves. So while it is very tempting please just enjoy them from a distance.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Bollongino Project Janszoon

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