9 Aug 2010

Five more kiwi found dead at Wairarapa reserve

8:39 pm on 9 August 2010

A further five kiwi have been killed at the Pukaha Mount Bruce Forest in Wairarapa bringing the total to nine.

Department of Conservation staff believe a pair of ferrets is responsible for the killings. Post-mortems show the adult birds were killed by predators in the past two months.

A large male ferret has been captured and extra traps are being laid to catch the female.

DoC's Wairarapa area manager Chris Lester says the deaths are disappointing, given the reserve has an intense pest control programme which uses more than double the number of traps set by the national standard.

All the 54 kiwis in the forest are introduced, and six of the nine killed had come from Little Barrier Island in May this year.

The board managing the forest says the killings are a huge blow. Chair Bob Francis told Checkpoint more DoC staff, $20,000 worth of extra traps and a ferret sniffer dog have been enlisted to catch the female ferret.

"It's putting us under enormous pressure, but we're throwing almost everything bar the kitchen sink at this and assessing our position each day."

Mr Francis says removing the rest of the kiwi from the reserve may be a possibility.