Eight critically-endangered plains-wanderers have been released into the wild after a successful Taronga breeding program.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo and its Sydney counterpart Taronga Zoo are part of the National Recovery Program to help bolster wild populations.
It's believed there are fewer than 1000 plains-wanderers across their two remaining habitats in the northern plains of Victoria and the Riverina in NSW.
Taronga chief executive officer Cameron Kerr said the releases of the plains-wanderers was a "momentous milestone" for the zoo, which has been part of the program since 2016.
"To have zoo-bred birds being released within five years of the program commencing demonstrates the important role that zoos are playing in securing a future for species under threat of extinction," he said.
Before leaving Dubbo zoo, the birds underwent a pre-release health check to ensure they were all in optimum condition. The birds were then transported to Victoria via a special charter flight, acclimatised on arrival for two days, and then released by Zoos Victoria's team of conservationists.
All eight plains-wanderers were fitted with leg bands and radio transmitters to allow researchers to closely monitor the birds and add more data to the knowledge library about this unique species, as part of this release research trial.
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