Kiwi released on Rotoroa
23rd October 2014
Kiwi are now roaming Rotoroa Island after six kiwi chicks,
hatched at Auckland Zoo from eggs collected from Te Mata in The
Coromandel, were released on the during October and November.
The introduction of kiwi marks the start of a new programme
between, Rotoroa Island Trust (RIT), Auckland Zoo and Thames Coast
Kiwi Care (TCKC) that will help boost the population of Coromandel
North Island brown kiwi - the rarest of the four distinct types of
brown kiwi. Up to 20 chicks could be released onto Rotoroa
each year. On reaching 1.2kg - large enough to have a chance
against introduced predators on the mainland, the birds will be
returned to the 2,500ha protected area on the Thames Coast cared
for by TCKC. The programme is also providing a number of chicks for
release onto Motutapu Island.
The kiwi arrivals during Save Kiwi Month follow the first
translocations of wildlife (saddleback and whitehead) to Rotoroa in
May as part of a 25-year plan by RIT and Auckland Zoo for this
unique wildlife reserve that includes introducing up to 20 new
species by 2018.
"It's wonderful to be celebrating this milestone of providing a
place for our national bird to thrive," says RIT chairman, Barrie
"I've been looking forward to welcoming kiwi here since our
partnership with the Zoo launched in 2012. A key part of this
Rotoroa project is our schools programme - giving young Kiwi
children practical opportunities to grow their love and ability to
care for, wildlife and the environment. It feels appropriate that
their feathered namesake is among species we'll manage here, and
will play a part in inspiring these future conservationists," says
Zoo director Jonathan Wilcken says partnering with TCKC to grow
the population of this rare, genetically distinct kiwi highlights
the value of sharing skills and resources.
"Thames Coast Kiwi Care plays a vital role in protecting kiwi in
the Coromandel. RIT and the Zoo are here to help with this work by
providing specialist wildlife management skills in incubating,
rearing and releasing kiwi, along with an island safe-haven for
young kiwi chicks. It's a great team effort and an example of
the type of collaborative and interventionist approach that's
increasingly used to help save wildlife," says Mr Wilcken.
It's possible that fewer than 50 Coromandel brown kiwi remain in
the land TCKC protects, out of a total Coromandel population of
"Our volunteer organisation has done a pretty good job of
growing kiwi numbers here over the past eight years," says TCKC
chair, Richard Moyle. "We have 35 dedicated trappers as well
as back-up trappers and small stocks of back-up equipment. What we
haven't had until now, is a back-up for the kiwi themselves!
If they were ever to go, they'd be likely gone for
good. This new partnership is fantastic and gives us the back-up we
need, and we're very proud to be one cog in this forward-moving
wheel of kiwi conservation," says Mr Moyle.
Iwi groups from the Tapu/Te Mata area of the Coromandel and
Rotoroa Island have offered their support of the programme.