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Prototypes Developed To Encourage Kiwi

Russell Peninsula Kiwi Recovery

Innovation is being used to foster the kiwi recovery project on the Russell Peninsula.

Laurence Gordon, the habitat specialist who is driving the project for Enterprise Russell, has been working on a prototype fence which will be used to channel mustelids into humane traps, and prevent the reinvasion of the 2,500 ha of pasture and regenerating forest on the peninsula.

His design has used the best features from other systems available, and will be tested in the Waikato by MAF before the design is finely tuned and built on private land at the eastern end of the peninsula.

But other residents are also thinking of ways to give the kiwi an advantage over the predators introduced by man, including possums, mustelids and rats as well as wandering dogs and cats.

“One farmer was contemplating the lack of burrows for kiwi on his property,” said Laurence. “He noticed a kiwi had laid its egg in a watercourse – so he has devised a wonderful nesting box with private entry and rainproof sides. Now that he has built two – with no imported timber - he will put them out in appropriate places on his property.”

The design, with only one entrance, would not only give the kiwi a decided advantage in defending their eggs and chicks, but also has a lid which kiwi specialists could open to see if the box had been used or not.

The nesting box is luxury accommodation awaiting its first tenants. Greg Blunden, Far North Coordinator for NZ Landcare Trust and Manager of Aroha Island near Kerikeri was on hand recently to see the completion of the first box.

“It is great to see landowners getting together as communities to protect and enhance kiwi populations in the relatively few areas where they still survive in significant numbers,” he said. “We don’t know how well it’s going to work at this stage, but I commend this initiative towards helping the kiwi.”

ENDS

Further information can be obtained from Laurence Gordon on 025 501 102 or Jacqui Knight, Chair of Enterprise Russell at erussell@ihug.co.nz or telephone 09 403 8843, fax 09 403 8842.

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