Twelve critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeaters will be released into the wild today in an effort to save the bird from extinction.
The release is an annual event organised by Healesville Sanctuary and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and will boost numbers to more than 70 in the wild.
The birds were placed in aviaries within Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve two days ago so they could acclimatise to the conditions and will be released into the wild today.
“The annual release of Helmeted Honeyeaters into the wild is such an important conservation effort, giving this critically endangered bird a real chance of survival,” Healesville Sanctuary’s Director Glen Holland said. “We are committed to ensuring the survival of Victoria’s bird emblem.”
Zoos Victoria and DEPI have been involved in the captive breeding and release of Helmeted Honeyeaters since 1989. The birds had been adjusting to their wild environment without danger of predation especially from birds of prey, for the past two days.
The wild population is supported by Healesville Sanctuary, DEPI, Parks Victoria and volunteer groups such as Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater.