Research shows that the biggest threats to kiwi are warm blooded predators that have been introduced to New Zealand—mammals such as stoats, ferrets, dogs, cats and pigs.
hese new predators hunt by smell, and kiwi have an unhelpfully strong odour because they evolved to avoid predators who hunted by sight.
The introduced mammals devastate kiwi populations—in unmanaged areas, only about 5% of wild-born chicks survive to adulthood. This means that there are extensive areas of suitable kiwi habitat with very few or no kiwi in them.
Over the past 20+ years, we have been working with community- and Māori-led kiwi conservation groups to keep some areas safe for kiwi, and the hard work is paying off. There are a few small pockets of kiwi populations that have started growing.
Now it’s time to take advantage of the protected habitat that has been created by this hard work. In many areas that are being managed by the community, there are far fewer kiwi than the area could sustain. By using kōhanga to breed more kiwi, we can re-introduce more birds to the area and put kiwi back into the areas where they belong
Who is doing it?
Many groups and individuals are involved in predator control and monitoring in New Zealand, including the Department of Conservation, Landcare Research and community kiwi conservation groups.
How does it work?
Over the years, best practices have been developed for controlling a range of animal pests. They identify the best technique and technology depending on the target species, the size of the area, the terrain, who is available to do the work, and other factors.As well, it is important that humane kill traps are used, and that traps and poisons are laid in ways that do not accidentally kill kiwi and other native animals.
Best practices have also been developed to monitor what is happening in the environment. This can reveal what pests are about so that you know what control is needed, and they can tell you how successful any pest control work has been.