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New research Assists in Fight to Save Kiwi

Media release – for immediate release
Tuesday 6 September 2011

New research Assists in Fight to Save Kiwi

Understanding our shy and rare national bird just got a whole lot easier thanks to funding for an in-depth kiwi call monitoring project.

Researchers from Victoria University and Department of Conservation will be recording the calling rates of male and female kiwi every night of the year from sunset to sunrise in areas of known kiwi abundance.

The knowledge gained will provide a more exact indication of the state of our kiwi populations than ever before.

BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust’s executive director, Michelle Impey says call monitoring is essential for population assessment but up until now listening for kiwi in the field has been very time consuming and expensive, and takes place only over a very limited time of the night and year.

“This new research will let us know the true variations in kiwi calls over a single night; whether there is any moon effect or weather conditions we should avoid and answer very basic questions as to what season is best to listen in. Our present criteria are simply educated guesses.”

New technology means that monitoring can now be done through acoustic recorders which produce sonograms of kiwi calls, speeding up the subsequent analysis at least twenty times from the previous method which involved listening to tapes.

This project is just one of numerous kiwi recovery projects around New Zealand which will receive funding from the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust during the coming year.

Every year BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust grants hundreds of thousands of dollars to kiwi conservation projects throughout the country, supporting DOC, community projects, research and monitoring work, and much more. One hundred percent of donations to the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust go directly toward saving kiwi.

This year, 42 projects – stretching from The Bay of Islands in Northland to Stewart Island - will benefit from more than $670,000 to be distributed by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust. Every species of kiwi will benefit, with projects ranging from predator control and habitat restoration, through to research projects and education programmes.

This year’s BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust funded projects include:

Northland

Puketi Forest Trust. Stoat and feral cat control measures started in 2006 across 5,500 hectares of the forest have reversed the rapid decline in the number of kiwi in the forest and led to a significant increase in their population.

Whakaangi Landcare Trust. A chick survival study testing different predator control methods amongst New Zealand’s northernmost kiwi population, the results of which will be used to improve the effectiveness of overall predator control in the area.

Bay of Plenty

Kiwi Aversion training for dogs will be held in key targeted communities around the northern part of Te Urewera National Park. These are areas where a significant amount of pig hunting using dogs is done, and where communities have few resources to pay for the training.

Taranaki

Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust. The establishment of a founding population, with the aim to become a kohanga kiwi (source population for other transfers) site as an integral part in the management of Western brown kiwi. Rotokare's 230ha of fenced sanctuary could protect around 50 pairs of kiwi, and will eventually produce numerous chicks each year for supplementing and supporting kiwi projects within the Western North Island brown kiwi's range.

Wellington

Monitoring Little Spotted Kiwi on Kapiti Island. This is a high priority in light of the recent discovery of at least three stoats on Kapiti Island, a vital habitat for the little spotted kiwi. With an estimated 1200 birds out of a national population of 1500 in 2008 living on the island, this important monitoring project will assess mortality and population growth rates.

Canterbury

Arthur’s Pass Wildlife Trust. A community project aimed at studying chick survival along with carrying out predator control. This project has been initiated and managed by the community with significant volunteer input from the local inhabitants of Arthur’s Pass Village, which lies in the middle of the project area.

West Coast, South Island

West Coast Wildlife Centre. A new facility for incubating rowi and Haast tokoeka chicks - our two rarest kiwi – has been established here. The centre not only provides specialist husbandry care to help save kiwi from extinction, but also provides visitors with an educational experience on the fight for kiwi survival, a chance to see rowi in a natural forest setting, a guided tour through the incubation and rearing facility and interactive displays on West Coast wildlife.

Several projects throughout New Zealand using BNZ Operation Nest Egg to boost their umbers will also receive funding.

BNZ Operation Nest Egg is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of kiwi. It has successfully incubated, raised and returned more than 1600 kiwi back to the wild where they stand a 65 percent chance of reaching adulthood. Without the programme, only five percent of kiwi chicks reach adulthood. Twenty percent survival is needed for a population to grow. A century ago kiwi in the wild numbered in the millions. Now there are less than 100,000. Some kiwi species are particularly critically endangered – for example, there are only about 375 rowi kiwi remaining. The main reason for declining numbers of kiwi in the wild is the loss of chicks and adult birds to predators such as stoats, ferrets, weasels, cats and dogs.

Everyone can play a role in saving kiwi, whether you live near kiwi populations or not by:

• Avoid taking dogs into kiwi areas and never take them into bush areas that are known to have kiwi populations, not even on a leash.
• Not dumping unwanted cats or ferrets in the wild.
• Making a donation to BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust at any Bank of New Zealand store or ATM or online with credit card at www.savethekiwi.org.nz
• Volunteer your time at a local kiwi protection group or habitat restoration project
• If you are a BNZ customer, you can choose a Save the Kiwi EFTPOS card or cheque book, which provides an annual donation to the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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