The urban release of captive-reared Kaka at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science in Ecology at Massey University, Palmerston North
study investigates the first reintroduction of captive-reared Kaka (Nestor meridionalis), an endangered parrot endemic to New Zealand, at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, a predator free privately run sanctuary in the same vein as the Department of Conservation's mainland islands. Three Kaka from Auckland Zoo and three Kaka from Hamilton Zoo were released into Karori Sanctuary in August 2002 and followed until August 2003. The Kaka were fitted with radio transmitters, and coloured bands before release. Before release, the consumption of supplementary foods was monitored and the Kaka were introduced to natural foods. The Kaka showed no significant temporal trends, and no correlation between the two groups. The Kaka showed marked preferences for some foods and very varied consumption of others. The Kaka instinctively foraged on natural foods that were provided. Provisioning of natural foods may have reduced neo-phobic responses and assisted successful transition to the wild. Five of the six Kaka remained at the sanctuary 13 Months after release. The Hamilton Kaka tended to disperse further than the Auckland Kaka. All the Hamilton Kaka left the valley where as non of the Auckland birds did. RP-P left the valley and few to Island Bay eventually to return, RR-P went west to beyond Makara peak, and RW-P is the only Kaka to leave and not return. An un-banded wild male arrived at the sanctuary in January 2002 and has reminded since. RP-P and P-WY nested in December 2003 and 3 chicks fledged in March 2003, the pair nested again in 2004 along with RR-P and P-WB. The largest part of the Kaka activity budget is foraging. Supplementary food is a large part of the Kaka diet and the more time a bird spent foraging on natural foods the less time they spent at the feeder. The Kaka at Karori developed a unique location call, and there was evidence of this being taught to the Auckland Kaka by the Hamilton Kaka. Use of the feeder was taught to the wild Kaka that arrived and to the chicks. These results suggest that captive-reared Kaka adapt well to release and supports Berry's (1998) findings. Captive-reared Kaka showed an ability to forage effectively on natural foods, had a high level of site fidelity, and formed stable population. Using captive-reared Kaka is an effective management tool, and the presence of an urban environment did not reduce the success of the release.