Doing Good for Kiwi Survival
The future of Tom, a North Island brown kiwi living in the Brynderwyns, is looking positive.
Tom began nesting at the beginning of August, on his sixth nest since his release at Marunui in 2014. His chicks are due to hatch in mid October and it's likely he will nest again early in the New Year. Many other kiwi pairs in the area have an equivalent record.
John Hawley of Marunui Conservation says, “We received 43 adult birds between 2013 and 2015 and given their nesting success there could easily be upwards of 70 kiwi now. While not all nesting pairs were monitored, of the 24 nests that have been, many have produced two chicks. We know that in unmanaged areas a high percentage of chicks are killed by predators, but in our case because of intensive trapping, we are confident that many will survive to adulthood.”
Kiwi call count monitoring, the main method used to assess population growth or decline, has been undertaken at Marunui annually since 2014. This year it was held at two listening stations over four nights, with calls recorded between 6-8pm.
John says there has been a steady increase in the call count. Thirty-one calls were recorded in 2015, 59 in 2016, and this year there was a total of 81 calls.
“We take heart from these figures that our protective measures are working,” says John.
Other factors assisting kiwi survival include good dog control and increased community participation in trapping. John acknowledges the widespread community support for kiwi recovery.
In April, 38 dogs were enrolled by their owners for kiwi avoidance training; some returning for a refresher course while others came for the first time. In fact, there was such a high response rate, that a further 20 dogs were wait listed for a future session.
In June, a trapper training workshop organised by Marunui Conservation, was held at Mangawhai. It was attended by 60 people. A range of traps for different predators were demonstrated and information was provided on where to put them, what baits to use, as well as how to keep kiwi safe. As a result, new trapping groups have formed north of the Brynderwyns.
John says that with ‘Save Kiwi Month’ coming up in October, locals are leading by example, and any kiwi chick born in the area has a good chance of survival.