These 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. This project is designed to boost genetic diversity and the overall population of little spotted kiwi across the North Island.
“Recent 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,” said DOC’s Whitianga Operations manager Dale Tawa. The ten introduced female kiwi will increase the genetic diversity on the island.
The transfer of ten male birds to the 2,500-hectare Cape Sanctuary will assist with establishing a self-sustaining population, which currently has a small population of little spotted kiwi.
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.
“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.”
This kiwi transfer is the first stage of a three year project dedicated to little spotted kiwi recovery.