New Zealand hunters kill critically endangered takahe birds

This 2018 video is called Takahē – return to the wild.

This video says about itself:

12 February 2012

Takahe, Notornis (Porphyrio mantelli) [foreground] and [much smaller, background] Pukeko, Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio); New Zealand, Tiritiri Matangi Island, August 8, 2010.

After Dick Cheney in the USA who did not know the difference between a quail and a fellow hunter … and after the hunter who did not know the difference between a female cyclist and a hare

From the BBC today:

New Zealand: Rare birds shot as cull goes wrong

Hunters in New Zealand have accidentally shot dead four critically endangered takahe birds after mistaking them for another species, it’s reported.

The incident occurred when members of the Deerstalkers’ Association were permitted to cull up to 600 of the abundant pukeko at a sanctuary on Motutapu Island, off the coast of the country’s North Island, the New Zealand Herald reports. The Department of Conservation confirmed that hunters had made the “deeply disappointing” mistake, despite being briefed on the differences between the two species. The highly aggressive pukeko is half the size of the flightless takahe, and is described in bird-watching handbooks as “widespread and easily recognisable”. Deerstalkers’ Association president Bill O’Leary has apologised “to the department and to the country at large”.

There are only about 300 takahe birds left in the world, and the species was thought to be extinct as late as 1948, Radio New Zealand reports. The killings have angered Maori groups who agreed to allow the rare birds to be moved from their native South Island to Motutapu for conservation purposes. Rino Tirakatene, a member of New Zealand’s parliament, says there are now calls for the birds to be returned. “There’s no way that they would send their treasured takahe to a sanctuary for it to be slaughtered”, he says.

Tiritiri Matangi – a 75-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland – is one of several offshore islands that New Zealand has turned into sanctuaries for its native birds. Some of these are essentially closed to all but the Department of Conservation and scientists, but Tiritiri Matangi is kept open to visitors in an ambassadorial role. Essentially, seeing what’s being done here gives a window into the heroic work being done elsewhere to stop these birds fluttering off into extinction: here.

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