More kiwi moved to new island home

Another ten kiwi have been given a new home on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf. It’s the biggest ever single translocation of Coromandel brown kiwi and it has all been done to future-proof the species.

Moehau Environment Group volunteers helped Department of Conservation dog-teams hunting Coromandel brown kiwi, not to kill them but to move them to a new predator-free home. The teams spent three days around Port Charles scouring the bush during the day, and listening through the night to locate kiwi.

Once the kiwi were caught they were brought to a processing centre where they were weighed, measured and checked over before being either banded or micro-chipped ahead of their big trip to Motutapu Island.

Over the past three days, the teams have caught 11 kiwi around Stony Bay near the tip of the Coromandel coast. All but one chick have been translocated to Motutapu Island. This chick is too young to be released immediately, so will be cared for by Auckland Zoo intially.

An adult pair of kiwi were located from within our Kiwi Sanctuary, in a forestry block due to be logged above Colville. Moehau Environment Group wanted to ensure these birds were protected, as they would be at risk during the upcoming logging operation. Their genes are a valuable contribution to the island population.

Courtesy of helicopters, the kiwi took the aerial route across the Hauraki Gulf to their new home. They join six other Coromandel brown kiwi already there, taking the island’s population to 16. There’s more work to be done though. The plan is to have at least 40 as an “insurance policy” should the worst happen to those on the Coromandel. The translocation is part of a programme to help provide long term security for Coromandel Brown kiwi by increasing their number and mixing their genes.

The translocation has only been possible thanks to the hard work of DOC staff and volunteers. It was incredible to be a part of history in the making. Now it’s just up to the kiwi to breed and make sure all the hard work is worth it.

For photos of the operation, visit our facebook page.