Undertaken by Landcare Research, ‘Saving a National Icon’ is the first official report to estimate the cost of achieving kiwi population stability, followed by sustained 2% growth.
Commissioned by New Zealand’s principal kiwi charity, Kiwis for kiwi, which has been supporting kiwi conservation efforts for more than 20 years, the report confirms that the substantial and successful work carried out by Kiwis for kiwi, Department of Conservation (DOC) and over 90 community led projects is making a difference and saving kiwi from extinction is achievable.
Executive director of Kiwis for kiwi, Michelle Impey, says while unmanaged kiwi populations are estimated to be declining at a rate of 2% per year the report highlights that kiwi numbers are growing in areas where work is being done to manage their habitats.
“The report highlights the vital role of volunteers in sustained habitat protection. The survival of kiwi is dependent on ongoing efforts of community volunteers on private land as much as it is on large scale predator management on DOC land.
“The recent Government funding is a significant contribution towards the work of saving kiwi alongside the ongoing commitment of DOC and passionate community groups. While more work needs to be done to ensure their survival we now know that saving kiwi from extinction is within our grasp.”
The funding package for kiwi conservation in Budget 2015 is an injection of $11.2million over the next four years. In the fourth year and thereafter, $6.8million per annum will be available which should allow substantial progress towards growing kiwi populations.
It is estimated an additional cost of $1.3million will be required to achieve an average of 2% growth in kiwi numbers per year. Kiwis for kiwi will raise the funds through a variety of sources including corporate sponsorship, public donations and philanthropic giving.
These funds will go towards predator control, research and monitoring programmes, kiwi avoidance training for dogs and Operation Nest Egg. This programme involves removing vulnerable kiwi eggs and young chicks from the burrows until they are able to be safely returned to the wild without risk of predation.
Stoats, ferrets, dogs and cats are considered the key cause of current kiwi declines. More than 95% of kiwi chicks born in areas without predator control are killed before they reach breeding age. However, up to 60% of kiwi chicks survive in areas where predators are controlled.
“At the beginning of the twentieth century it is believed there were several million kiwi. It is estimated there are now around 70,000 kiwi.
“A tremendous amount of work has been done and we now know where we need to focus our efforts going forward and how much it is likely to cost. We can save the kiwi from extinction with ongoing funding and on-the-ground work from our partners, DOC, Iwi and the many volunteer groups with support from New Zealanders. ”
KEY POINTS FROM THE REPORT
- Kiwi are deemed ‘threatened’. Unmanaged kiwi populations are estimated to be declining at a rate of 2% per annum.
- Putting unmanaged birds into one of the six regimes of active management, including predator control, egg recovery and monitoring, can halt the decline.
- The Landcare Research report set about to estimate the cost of additional management required over the next 15 years to halt declines or increase populations to 2% growth per annum.
- Significant additional funding is required to achieve the conservation targets. With the scenarios used, on average, funding of $2.6 million annually on top of current (2014/2015) funding is needed for the next 15 years to halt kiwi declines. To achieve 2% growth of all 10 types of kiwi, additional funding of $8.1 million annually is needed for the same period.
- The kiwi conservation funding package announced in Budget 2015 has an injection of $11.2m over the next four years. In the fourth year and thereafter, $6.8 million per annum will be available, which should allow stable populations to be achieved. However, there is a shortfall of $1.3m per annum to achieve 2% growth across the board.
- The current annual cost of community expenditure is around $6.3m pa with substantial community involvement.
- Community groups currently donate 44% of their total costs, with 59% donated in the Coromandel. A large share of donated costs is for time volunteered for administration, trap-checking and advocacy.
NB: figures given are based on most likely model parameter choices.