Saving the Spotted Kiwi

Friday, March 11, 2016

A special mission to help save kiwi is about to get underway and the Coromandel will play a big role in it.

Next week some of New Zealand’s smallest kiwi species, the little spotted kiwi, will be on the move. Ten female birds are to be flown from Kapiti Island to Red Mercury Island just off the Coromandel Peninsula. A further ten females from Red Mercury will then be transferred to Hawkes Bay where they will supplement a new population.

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson says this is great news especially given the focus the Government has on saving our national bird.

Mr Simpson said this is the largest ever translocation effort by the Department of Conservation to increase the genetic diversity of the birds’ population.  This is a small project with a big impact which will help increase low breeding rates he said.

Bringing Kapiti birds to Red Mercury will help ensure the population remains viable for long term growth.

Mixing the Red Mercury and Kapiti bloodlines at the Hawkes Bay Cape Sanctuary will give that colony a robust genetic base as well said Mr Simpson.

All the birds being moved will be caught either at night by hand, or during the day with assistance from trained kiwi detection dogs. They will then be transferred by helicopter from Kapiti to the mainland.

The Government is committed to saving our Kiwi from extinction in the wild. We set aside $11.2 million in last year’s Budget to help with this said Scott Simpson.

This relocation is a great example of DOC working in partnership with iwi, community groups and business to save our national bird and ensure it survives for our grandchildren to experience.


Further Information:
The little spotted kiwi is the smallest kiwi species that was once abundant across both the North and South Islands. The species is now found only on offshore islands and in fenced sanctuaries.