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Large, colorful, flightless, and clueless…

…that’s the Takahe, a mountain-dwelling, tussock-eating, big-beaked member of the gallinule family (related to coots).  The bird was believed by ornithologists to be extinct, until G.B. Orbell “rediscovered” a population in the remote Murchison mountains of Fjordland New Zealand in 1948.  Since then heroic efforts have been made to secure its survival as a species, which are so far uncertainly successful (in 2004, there were fewer than 200 birds in the wild, and less than 50 in captivity).

Above is a free-living wild Takahe, photographed on Tiri Tiri Matangi sanctuary in the North Island of New Zealand — I’m uncertain that it appears to appreciate all the effort taken on its behalf.

Then take a look at the most excellent kid’s painting tacked to a wall (no name supplied) at the Fjordlands National Park Visitors Center in Te Anau.  Isn’t it perfect?

(Photos A. Shock)

Posted by Allison on May 1st 2009 12:51 am | No Comments yet
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