Indian Island's first translocation project

Submitted by editor on

April 2013

The birds are singing about it, as is everyone involved in the Indian Island project.

South Island robin/toutouwai

70 South Island robin/toutouwai were released on to Indian Island this April, the first transfer to occur on Fiordland’s newest pest free Island.

The transfer is part of an ongoing drive by the Fiordland Conservation Trust (FCT) to revert this Island back to its original state prior to the introduction of deer, stoats and rats. The island pest eradication project was adopted in 2010 by Ruth & Lance Shaw, formerly Fiordland Ecology Holidays. Between the FCT, Ruth and Lance and a long list of donors, this Island was declared pest free in the winter of 2012.



Fern Bellerby on Breaksea Island enticing a robin to its new home

Over a period of four days, the 70 robins were captured from Breaksea Island in Dusky Sound, banded and transported to Indian for release.  The team included the Indian Island sponsors, FCT, local Iwi, DOC and participants from Fiordland College, along with Jo Marsh of Restoration SolutioNZ who project managed the release. Read Jo's report here (2.64Mb pdf)



Lucy Bellerby, a long term sponsor of this project was thrilled to be involved with the latest trip.  “I'd like to acknowledge what a fantastic opportunity being involved with the Fiordland Conservation Trust's Indian Island project has been for me.”  While Lucy has been down to Dusky regularly helping out with rat and stoat checks since the project began, she said the most recent trip was by far the most wonderful of them all.  “Spending 2 days on Breaksea Island capturing the robins was really inspiring, listening to the amazing birdsong on an island unaffected by mainland predators.On the count of 3.....

And it was a really moving moment releasing all 70 of the robins onto Indian Island - I think we all felt really special being part of that moment, and are all going to enjoy watching the changes on Indian over the coming years as we manage more bird releases.”



“This is what we are all about” Rachel Cockburn, FCT Manager said, “to finally be able to begin transferring species back onto the Island is incredibly exciting, and gives the supporters a wonderful sense of achievement.  It is as real as it gets, and all involved should be justifiably proud of what has been accomplished”.  The Trust will look to undertake further translocations of endangered native species in the future in an effort to restore the native biodiversity on Indian Island.