New Zealand, a land of birds, had no warm blooded mammal predators before people introduced them. These are now the main threat to kiwi’s survival – killing eggs, chicks and adults.
Dogs are particularly hard on adult birds and that’s bad for kiwi because these are the breeding birds – without them there are no eggs or chicks to keep the population stable or growing. Ferrets also kill adult kiwi.
Other animal pests, such as hedgehogs, rodents and weasels, may not kill kiwi, but they also cause problems. First, they compete for the same food as kiwi. Second, they are prey for the same animals that attack kiwi, helping to keep the number of predators high.
Turning the tide
In areas where kiwi predators are intensively controlled, kiwi hatching increases to 50 – 60%. In order to sustain populations levels a 20% survival rate is needed, anything over that it grows. So management is making a difference, especially when dog owners keep their dogs under control.
Find out how Kiwis for kiwi are helping dog owners care for kiwi.