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16 May 2014

This week is not only the 25th anniversary of National Volunteer Week, it’s also the 25th anniversary of the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater, a passionate volunteer group that has been working together with the threatened species team at Healesville Sanctuary  to save this beautiful but critically endangered bird from extinction.

It is estimated there are only 80 Helmeted Honeyeaters left in the wild.

Every year, critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeaters are released into the wild as efforts by the Friends group, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Healesville Sanctuary continue to save the bird from extinction.The birds live at just two sites; Bunyip State Park, 20km south-east of Gembrook and Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, 18km south of Healesville.

The wild population is supported by DEPI, Healesville Sanctuary, Parks Victoria and volunteer groups such as Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater.

“We work with volunteers to keep a close watch on the birds, including undertaking nest protection works during the breeding season, but the new birds are still vulnerable to natural predators,” Healesville Sanctuary Director Glen Holland said. “The team at Healesville Sanctuary have learned so much about captive breeding and caring for this secretive little bird since Zoos Victoria first became involved more than 20 years ago. Since then, we have successfully bred 250 Helmeted Honeyeaters for release back to the wild."

You can adopt a Helmeted Honeyeater for as little as $15 a month. Adopting a Helmeted Honeyeater is a great way to contribute directly to the care, wellbeing and enrichment of wildlife, both inside and outside our three zoos, as well as keeping updated about this beautiful little bird.

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