“They looked at home immediately the way they melted into the bark of the large pohutakawa trees. It was such a feel-good moment. I’d love to be involved in future releases so I can come back and see how these ones are doing,” says Jenny.
Ectotherms keeper Ben Goodwin, who has been involved in nearly all of the Zoo’s wētāpunga releases, says breeding is already taking place on a neighbouring island in The Noises, the first to receive wētāpunga, and also on Tiritiri Matangi and Motuora.
“During this release, we did see older wētāpunga from a release we did here last year, which indicates that they are persisting and maturing here, which is great. It’ll just be a matter of time and monitoring over the next few years before we can definitively confirm that the population is establishing.
“What we do know is that thanks to the inspiring and conservation-minded Neureuter family, this wonderful, unique and important species is being given the very best chance to thrive here,” says Ben.