Since the early 1980s, the Department of Conservation has run a captive breeding programme near Twizel, in an effort to prevent black stilts from becoming extinct. Eggs are removed from nests to incubate, and the chicks are raised in captivity. Meanwhile, adults lay again, producing up to three more replacement clutches of four eggs in a breeding season. In the wild, predator control and habitat restoration has also improved their chance of survival. Numbers are slowly rising, and in 2004 there were 68 adults in the wild and 22 in captivity. In the corner is a black plastic ‘adult bird’, to encourage chicks to identify with black, not pied, stilts.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Peter Cook
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