Todd has been working in the zoo industry since 1999. Since starting his career at the Kiwi Birdlife Park in Queenstown, Todd has held keeper, supervisor and management roles in both New Zealand and Australia including both urban and open range zoos/wildlife parks, as well as with private and government organisations.
The 19 years of zoo experience has also provided Todd with opportunity to also develop field skills with his experience working in-situ with kakapo on Hauturu, Przewalski’s Horse in Mongolia and most recently managing the restoration project at Pukaha Mount Bruce.
Currently Todd is the Zoo & Aquarium Association NZ Fauna TAG co-convenor, as well as species co-ordinator for kea and North Island Brown Kiwi
Todd is hosted by Wellington Zoo and his primary roles will be to develop relationships with key government agency stakeholders on behalf of our members, species programs and regional collection planning and member engagement.
When not at work, Todd spends time with his family on their Wairarapa property trapping pests, growing and planting native trees and trying to squeeze in the odd mountain bike ride.
I think like most New Zealanders I relate to being a “kiwi” because of the uniqueness of our national iconic kiwi. I also think the kiwi are a special species that New Zealanders can relate to and are the prefect taonga species to connect and engage people with in to “sell” the conservation message.
My “kiwi high point” was being involved in my first kiwi release on Motuora island in 2003. This was the first time I had seen through the delivery of an Northland ONE egg, being involved in the incubation, rearing of the chick and its release onto the island at 3 weeks old. It was a special moment I won’t forget.
Seeing the damage ferrets can have on adult kiwi. I seen firsthand how ferrets can be very quick to kill kiwi in a single night and move on making it very tricky to trap them before they cause anymore damage.
Thankfully, similar to the dog/kiwi issues we have, there is a group of very passionate and knowledgeable people working to minimise the impact ferrets have on adult kiwi populations
Thoughts for the future
My role as captive coordinator is advocacy and getting the key messages across. “We need more advocacy. “We need to continue to raise awareness about the work being done throughout New Zealand by the Department of Conservation, Kiwis for Kiwi, community groups and iwi and we need to ensure people know about the challenges kiwi populations face.”
Zoos and wildlife parks across New Zealand have also committed resources and funds to the captive programme to not only advocate for kiwi, but have provided spaces for kiwi to be held for breeding that will provide future birds for release into suitable kiwi habitat.