Thursday, May 08, 2014
I had the great privilege of publishing this wonderful title back in 1993 and I am delighted to see that Scholastic has brought it out again in a redesigned and update edition.
It is the story of Dr.Don Merton and his colleague's efforts in saving the black robin which at the beginning of their project was the rarest bird in the world with only five surviving. Beautifully illustrated by Mary Taylor.
OLD BLUE by Mary Taylor
Scholastic NZ - $21.00
New Zealander Dr Don Merton (1939–2011), was one of the world’s most outstanding managers of endangered species.
An officer with the NZ Department of Conservation (formerly Wildlife Service), Don had been fascinated with birds since childhood. Even as a child, he and his brothers successfully fostered an orphaned wild goldfinch to their grandmother’s canary – a simple cross-fostering experiment that he applied years later to save the world’s rarest bird, the Chatham Islands black robin.
In the 1960s, Don was involved in rescuing the South Island saddleback when its final refuge was invaded by rats, and in facilitating the recovery of the North Island saddleback, whose existence was confined to the tiny Taranga (Hen) Island. Since 1974, he developed a rescue and recovery programme for the world’s heaviest parrot, the flightless nocturnal kakapo.
Over the years, Don Merton received many awards, both in New Zealand and internationally, for his lifetime’s work in conservation.
“The future care of species will fall into the hands of you who are today’s young people. Tomorrow, you must take care of them.” —Dr Don Merton
A former teacher, Mary Taylor has worked as a professional artist since 1983. Her work includes limited edition etchings, paintings, and illustrations for books.
As one who cares passionately about the conservation of the natural world, Mary felt that the wonderful story of Old Blue and the survival of the Chatham Islands black robin was one that deserved a wider audience.
This moving and beautiful book is the result.
A plaque for Old Blue
This plaque was placed at the Chatham Islands airport in November 1991. It is to honour the life of Old Blue and the years of work to save the black robin species.