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How do you assess if a reintroduced species is thriving? Listen for it

08 / 02 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

When you’re new to an area, it takes time to settle in. We all want a comfortable place to live, in a safe neighborhood, with convenient access to shops and schools yet without too much traffic. It’s the same for birds. How animals find their way around unfamiliar territory is a key question for wildlife managers who translocate animals from one place to another. Now, an international research team hopes to answer that very question by “eavesdropping” on a group of one of New Zealand’s highly endangered birds with acoustic recording devices. A male hihi (Notiomystis cincta) kindly pauses for the camera. Females of this endangered species are duller-colored and lack the small white “wings” at the side of their heads. Hihis were driven extinct on New Zealand’s mainland are are now being reintroduced into areas free of cats and other invasive predators. Image courtesy of Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The researchers used the devices to listen for the calls of a group of hihis (Notiomystis cincta), small vocal birds that had been driven extinct across mainland New Zealand in the 1880s but recently released in a protected area on the country’s North Island. Bringing back lost species Moving animals from a threatened area to a safer one or from an overcrowded area to one where the species may have been previously extirpated is a management technique that’s become more common as human activities eliminate native animals. Humans have decimated animal populations through hunting, destroying their habitat, or bringing…

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