Takahe, a prehistoric bird once thought to be extinct, returns to New Zealand

In a rare win for conservationists, a large flightless bird, not seen in the wild in 100 years, made a return to the alpine slopes of New Zealand’s South Island. Takahe, which dates back to at least the prehistoric Pleistocene era, was formally declared extinct in 1898, after being rediscovered in 1948. Since then, they have been raised in captivity, away from predators and their numbers have steadily risen to about 500.

KnowALLedge Plus:

> Many New Zealand birds are flightless as before the arrival of humans, there were no native land mammals that preyed on them.

> The European settlers brought with them many animals that wreaked havoc on the local bird population. The nation plans to wipe out some of its worst predators – rats, possums and stoats – by 2050.

> The Takahe is considered to be taonga – a treasure that should be protected, by the Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The bird has also appeared in a stamp before.

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