Kapiti Kiwis On The Move

 

Kapiti-Is_Little-Spotted-Kiwi_1-628x504Twenty Little Spotted Kiwi flying north and east

By Alan Tristram

Twenty Little Spotted Kiwi on Kapiti Island will soon be on the move — with 10 females going to Red Mercury Island in Coromandel and ten males going to Cape Sanctuary in Napier to support wildlife restoration projects.

The Kiwi comings and goings are part of a complex plan involving the Department of Conservation, Ngati Toa, Ngai Tahu, Ngati Hei and Ngati Whanaunga, Cape Sanctuary, Kiwis for Kiwi and Air New Zealand.

There are around 1,200 Little Spotted Kiwi on Kapiti Island and the transfer of twenty kiwi will have a minimal effect on the current population.

DOC says: ‘This project is designed to boost genetic diversity and the overall population of Little Spotted Kiwi across the North Island.

Red Mercury Island
Red Mercury Island

‘Research by DOC and Victoria University scientists over the past several years indicates that the genetic diversity of the Little Spotted Kiwi on Red Mercury Island is lower than desirable to ensure a viable population in the future,’ adds DOC’s Whitianga Operations manager Dale Tawa.

‘The ten introduced female kiwi will increase the genetic diversity on the island.

The transfer of the 10 male birds to the 2,500-hectare Cape Sanctuary will assist in establishing a self-sustaining population. The Cape currently has a only small population of Little Spotted Kiwi.

It’s really exciting to see Kapiti Island kiwi helping enhance and establish other kiwi populations around the North Island,” says Kapiti Island Ranger Gen Spargo.

This project represents a huge amount of work and collaboration by the many parties involved.

The kiwi transfer is the first stage of a three year project dedicated to Little Spotted Kiwi recovery.