A major conservation achievement was saving the Chatham Islands black robin from the brink of extinction. Ornithologist Don Merton led the initiative, which involved transferring the last two breeding pairs from Little Māngere Island, where their habitat was deteriorating, to Māngere Island in 1976. Later, when their numbers had increased, the birds were released on South East Island. Merton is pictured in 1987 inspecting a nest box containing black robin eggs, while their foster mother, 'Pippie', a Chatham Islands tomtit, watches. Eggs were given to tomtits to raise so the black robins would keep laying.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Rick Thorpe
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