Jilted lover Tahu the takahē treks 40km in search of fresh start

by Kim Bowden - May 02, 2024

A female takahē kicked out of her home by a bolshy newcomer has made an epic hīkoi in search of a fresh start.

In a post to Facebook on Wednesday Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has told Tahu's story of being rescued by Department of Conservation staff close to 40 kilometres from her home.

She was spotted wandering near the busy northern Mavora Lakes campsite on Easter Monday.

"Tahu had walked over 39 kilometres in just over a fortnight from where she was last seen in the Greenstone Valley on 12 March.

"DOC staff believe Tahu was searching for a new mate after another female takahē took her mate Tucker and kicked her out of her home in the Greenstone Valley.

"When Tahu was found she had an infected foot from being bitten by a stoat or ferret and she had lost about quarter of her normal bodyweight."

Conservation staff think it is likely the injury would have been life threatening if she had not been found.

"She is either very lucky or very clever to have walked out to a place where she could be seen by people who could arrange help for her."

There's a happy ending to the story, after several weeks of care at the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital, Tahu has made a full recovery and is on her way to finding a new partner.

"She will now be paired with a new mate at the Burwood Takahē Centre, where they will stay for the winter before being returned to the Greenstone Valley in spring."

Tahu was one of the first takahē to be released by conservation staff into the Greenstone Valley last year, as part of efforts to grow wild populations of the flightless, threatened, endemic bird.

Main image (Facebook/Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu): Tahu the takahē walked more than 39 kilometres to the Mavora Lakes campsite.

Read more:

The remarkable hīkoi of Tahu, a female takahē

First takahē chicks hatch in Greenstone Valley

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