Day-old kaki chick at DOC captive breeding centre, Twizel Photo: Liz Brown, DoC
Being the rarest wading bird in the world isn’t really something to be proud of. When you are down to your last 23 birds it’s pretty clear that a serious intervention is needed. Kakī (black stilts) have been intensively managed since 1981 when their population declined to that “practically extinct” level. A captive breeding centre was set up near Twizel in the Mackenzie Basin to protect remaining birds from predators and boost breeding success.