The Kiwi Best Practice Manual has recently been reviewed, updated and published in 2017. However, kiwi management is a huge topic and new techniques are being developed at a rapid rate, such as the use of acoustic recorders and increasing demand for using live kiwi as advocacy tools.
The Kiwi Recovery Group has recognized these issues, and in the draft Kiwi Recovery Plan (2018) has listed an action to create a Best Practice Committee which will review the Best Practice each year. This will result in the manual being updated in small increments rather than one big task every 5 years
Since the publishing of the manual, there have already been several instances where Best Practice needs to be updated or tightened up. These are:
- BP says that chicks are not allowed to be used for advocacy, but there are currently several examples of permits given that allows for people to observe practitioners undertaking health checks and transmitter changes. These permits now have conflicting conditions where one says they need to follow best practice, while at the same time permitting them to use chicks for advocacy in this capacity. Clarity is needed.
- The Banding Office has highlighted that they disagree with Kiwi Best Practice of allowing one kiwi to be banded several times to gain experience. They have also raised that to be an accredited handler for banding of kiwi, they need to be registered with the Banding Office (this is not currently stated in the manual).
- People have been observed not following BP, and there is a perception that there is no consequence to this. There was a question about the process that needs to be followed if someone observes Best Practice not being followed. This process could be included in an updated manual if the committee thinks this is useful.
- The recent death of a kiwi at Tongariro Forest has sparked an internal review of kiwi releases at the sanctuary. Some of the suggestions may have implications at a national level and is worth reviewing to see whether any are appropriate for adding to the Best Practice Manual.
- In the Best Practice Manual it tells practitioners to refer to the ONE Best Practice protocols for specific techniques on lifting and transporting eggs (which it is not).
There are likely other examples that we are not aware of, therefore doing a call-out a month or so before the committee meeting to practitioners for issues that need to be discussed would be a good way to find what other topics need to be discussed. Once changes in Best Practice has been determined, Animal Ethics Committee needs to approve them before they can be included in the manual.
We are therefore seeking feed-back from kiwi practitioners to update or improve the Kiwi Best Practice Manual. If you have any suggestions to make can you please E-mail the chair of the committee, Rogan Colbourne firstname.lastname@example.org . Please send your initial suggested changes/additions before 1 June 2018 to be considered by the committee prior to the South Island kiwi Hui. Don’t worry if you cannot meet this deadline as there will be a further meeting six months later.