Our Zoo team have just received the first eggs collected for the hand rearing trials as part of our conservation partnership with the Department of Conservation. 

This is the fourth consecutive year of the intensive management programme to recover this precious taonga whereby our bird keepers use their specialist skills to incubate, hatch and rear the chicks.

Just prior to fledging, chicks will be released into a predator-free area where they can be monitored by Zoo staff and DOC rangers and learn to fly and fish under natural conditions. This will get them through the most dangerous stage of their development when they are threatened by extreme weather, predators, and other disturbances.

Tara iti (New Zealand fairy tern) have teetered on the brink of extinction since the 1970s and fewer than 40 birds survive today. Once released we hope these terns will go onto breed themselves and accelerate the recovery of the population.

We’ll keep you updated on their progress!