An adult female Northland Brown kiwi was caught in a leghold trap near Waipapa township four weeks ago. The bird taken to Whangarei Bird Recovery and was successfully released back into its home territory last week by the landowner and Department of Conservation rangers.

Adrian Walker, Senior Ranger, Bay of Islands says, “This bird was lucky. Most kiwi caught in traps have to be euthanized. We’ve had at least two other kiwi caught in leghold traps in the mid north in the recent past and that’s two kiwi too many.”

High possum fur prices and access to cheap leghold traps have led to an increase in possum trappers. Decreasing possum numbers is great news for protection of native forests, however, commonly-used leghold traps set on the ground in kiwi areas pose a significant risk to kiwi.

Adrian says, “Thoughtless trapping such as this can undo many years of hard work done by many dedicated locals to protect kiwi. I urge all trappers to raise their possum leghold traps at least 70 centimetres above the ground, put in ramps from the ground leading to the trap and use a flour lure to attract the possum to the trap. These measures will help avoid catching kiwi.”

If a kiwi is accidently caught in a possum trap, contact the local DOC office or the Native Bird Recovery Centre in Whangarei so that the kiwi can receive medical attention. Landowners with kiwi should ensure that trappers follow safe kiwi trapping practices by insisting trappers use raised trap techniques. Permits need to be obtained if operating on public conservation land.

For more information on trapping contact your local DOC or Regional Council Office.