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Scoop: ‘Extinct’ sea bird once again caught

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‘Extinct’ sea bird once again caught in the Hauraki Gulf

The once presumed extinct New Zealand storm petrel has again been recently captured in the Hauraki Gulf but its breeding site remains a mystery.

A team including Department of Conservation staff and scientists, funded jointly by DOC and a grant from National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, caught three birds during October and early November this year. This brings the tally to seven birds captured since the petrel was rediscovered by Dr Stephenson and Sav Saville of the coast of Whitianga in January 2003.

Ornithologist Dr Stephenson, who snared two birds with one shot using a custom-made net gun, said the moment was unforgettable.

“It’s not everyday you get to hold a seabird that for 150 years was thought to be extinct, let alone hold two.”

None of the captured birds showed signs of breeding, so the birds were released without attaching transmitters, said Dr Stephenson. The transmitters are used to track the birds with the aim of discovering which island they are breeding on.

full media release

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