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New plan to save kiwi in the wild

A new plan to reverse the decline of all five kiwi species was launched by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage at a kiwi release on Taranaki Mounga today.

“The Kiwi Recovery Plan/Mahere Whakaora Kiwi 2018-2028 signals an exciting new phase in kiwi conservation, with a focus on protecting kiwi populations in the wild and increasing the populations of all eight kiwi species,” Eugenie Sage said. 

“Right now, kiwi are declining at a rate of 2 per cent per year, mainly due to predation by stoats, dogs and ferrets.

“With better predator control and management techniques, the plan aims to grow the population of all kiwi species by 2 per cent per year, reversing the decline. This means the current populations of around 70,000 would be 100,000 by 2030.

“Kiwis may not be able to fly but we’d all love to see their population take flight so our national bird is around for many years to come.”

This Kiwi Recovery Plan focuses on in-situ management of kiwi – or growing kiwi in the wild – by managing the predators in the natural habitat of kiwi throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

“Most of our kiwi – over three quarters – currently live in the wild without protection from introduced mammals. And without protection, only five per cent of our kiwi chicks survive predation by stoats. This means kiwi populations are in decline in most areas.

“The good news is we’re already a step closer to letting kiwi live their lives in their natural habitat, with great advances being made in large-scale predator control and the Government’s injection of $81.3 million over four years to control and eradicate predators.”

The Kiwi Recovery Plan aims for 100,000 kiwi by 2030, by:

  • Using intensive and extensive predator control
  • Protecting the genetic diversity of kiwi
  • Supporting tangata whenua as kaitiaki and leaders in kiwi recovery
  • Managing the threat of dogs through responsible dog ownership
  • Growing and sustaining community-led kiwi conservation projects
  • Research and innovation

The plan was launched at the release of four kiwi, organised by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust. The release was part of a collaborative kiwi conservation project involving volunteers, iwi, Taranaki Kiwi Trust, DOC, Taranaki Mounga Project, Kiwis for Kiwi, Rotokare Trust, Zoo and Aquarium Association member institutions, Te Puia and Rainbow Springs.

The new kiwi will be monitored and, all going well, a further 100 will be released over the next five years.

“I hope the four new kiwi will be the ancestors of numerous kiwi on the mounga, living in an environment free from introduced predators,” Eugenie Sage said.

The Kiwi Recovery Plan Mahere Whakaora Kiwi 2018-2028 was developed with contributions from kiwi conservation experts, DOC, whānau, hapū and iwi, NGOs and the wider community through public consultation, and will guide kiwi conservation practitioners with their kiwi conservation work over the next ten years.   It is the fourth plan to be developed since the Kiwi Recovery Programme was established 25 years ago.

More info here.