Monty, a 15-year-old female takahe, was returned to the Department of Conservation Mana Island sanctuary yesterday after several months at the University's Wildlife Health Centre receiving treatment for a broken leg.
It was a big moment for department staff. Monty is one only 220 takahe, a flightless breed once thought to be extinct, and, as a breeding female, particularly important for the efforts to rebuild the population.
All takahe are fitted with transmitters and it was during a check of these that department staff discovered Monty was not moving because of injury.
"We're really excited to be getting her back," Mana Island ranger Sue Caldwell says.
It was a first-time success for the Wildlife Ward staff, who have previously treated two takahe for broken legs.
During Monty’s three months at the centre a team of wildlife vets and veterinary technicians looked after her. Wildlife veterinarian Lisa Argilla, who oversaw her treatment and recuperation after surgery, travelled with her to the island.
Monty will spend time in a pen on the island to allow to her reacclimatise before being allowed to roam.