The Whangārei Kiwi Sanctuary protects Northland brown kiwi.
The Sanctuary is a patchwork of discrete forested areas, ranging in size from 40 hectares to more than 700 hectares. Together these patches cover 10,000 hectares of public conservation and private land to the northwest and southeast of Whangārei city.
Within the Sanctuary, work is done to control kiwi predators, such as stoats, to give young birds a greater chance of surviving. Today, 50%–60% of chicks survive their first 6 months, compared to just 11% at unmanaged sites outside the Sanctuary. The population of adult kiwi, estimated at 300 birds in 2000, is expected to reach 1000 by 2016.
The trouble with dogs
Brown kiwi can live for 40–65 years. However, in Northland, the average age is just 14 years. Autopsies on dead adult kiwi confirm that dogs are the major killer.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and The Kiwi Trust put a lot of effort into working with local communities to improve how they control their dogs—both family pets and working animals.
Activities include raising people’s awareness about the danger dogs pose and offering training to teach dogs to avoid kiwi.
If you see a wandering dog anywhere in the Whangārei area, please call Environment Northland immediately on 0800 10 58 90 (24 hours).
Several community groups support DOC by protecting kiwi on private land. DOC provides them with technical expertise and advice on predator control and kiwi conservation.
DOC aims to increase the number of community-led projects so that more of Northland is protected for kiwi. This will also have benefits for other native species, including brown teal/pāteke and kōkako.
An example of progress
In 2004/05, no kiwi chicks in Riponui Scenic Reserve survived to reach 1000 grams in weight. A 1080 operation was carried out, targeting rats and possums, and since then, more than half of chicks in the reserve have survived six months.