16 Dec 2018

Plan to reverse kiwi decline focuses on protection

5:37 pm on 16 December 2018

The Conservation Minister has announced a new plan to reverse the decline of kiwi at a release of four birds on Mt Taranaki today.

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Photo: supplied

Eugenie Sage says the Kiwi Recovery Plan/Mahere Whakaora Kiwi 2018-2028 will focus on protecting kiwi in the wild and aims to increase populations of all five kiwi species.

"Right now kiwi are declining at the rate of two per cent a year, mainly due to predation from dogs, stoats and ferrets. With better predator control and management techniques, the plan aims to grow the population of kiwi species by two percent a year, reversing the decline."

Ms Sage said current population of kiwi was just 66,000 or one bird to every 70 people.

"That is a national disgrace in a country of people who like to call themselves kiwis."

The Kiwi Recovery Plan aims to to increase the population of kiwi to 100,000 by 2030.

Ms Sage said this would be achieved through "landscape-scale" predator control in the natural habitat of kiwi throughout the country and through dog owner education.

"Most of our kiwi - over three quarters - currently live in the wild without protection from introduced mammals. And without protection, only one in five of our kiwi chicks survive predation by stoats. This means kiwi populations are in decline in most places."

Ms Sage said the good news was the great advances were being made in predator control and the Government had injected $18 million over four years to control and eradicated predators.

The Kiwi Recovery Plan was launched at the release of four kiwi, organised by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust near the Stratford Mountain House.

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

Ms Sage said she hope the four new kiwi would be the ancestors of numerous kiwi on the mounga, living in an environment free from introduced predators.

The release was part of a collaborative kiwi conservation project involving volunteers, iwi, Taranaki Kiwi Trust, The Department of Conservation, Taranaki Mounga Project, Kiwis for Kiwi, Rotokare Trust, Zoo and Aquarium Association member institutions, Te Puia and Rainbow Springs.

The Kiwi Recovery Plan Mahere Whakaora Kiwi 2018-2028 was developed with contributions from 50 different authors including kiwi conservation experts, DOC, whānau, hapū and iwi, NGOs and the wider community through public consultation.

It is hoped it would guide practitioners with their kiwi conservation work over the next 10 years. It is the fourth plan to be developed since the Kiwi Recovery Programme was established 25 years ago.

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