From the New Zealand Herald:
Giant wetas return to mainland for first time in 100 years
Friday February 09, 2007
Up to 100 rare Cook Strait giant weta are to be released into the wild on mainland New Zealand for the first time in over 100 years.
They are to be freed at Wellington’s Karori Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday.
It will be the first attempt to re-establish the species on the mainland since they became extinct here over a century ago, said Karori Wildlife Sanctuary Trust chief executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward.
At around 70mm long, and weighing up to 27gm, the mouse-sized insects are among the world’s heaviest and, for many, the stuff of nightmares.
They are, however, far less ferocious than the smaller tree weta we found in garages, gardens and gumboots.
The weta will be collected on Matiu (Somes Island) and released into two different areas at the sanctuary, where they will be safe from the rats and stoats that lead to their extinction on all but a few offshore islands.
It will be the first of four planned transfers of up to 450 weta over four years.
Finding a mate can take considerable legwork as recently illustrated by the flightless and nocturnal [New Zealand] Cook Strait giant weta Deinacrida rugosa: here.