New Zealand kiwis released into the wild


This video from New Zealand is called Newly Hatched Western North Island Brown Kiwi.

From the Waikato Times in New Zealand:

Releasing kiwis into the wild

RACHEL THOMAS

We’re five minutes late through the door so collect dirty looks from tourists in bedazzled hats and souvenir T-shirts.

Myself and lens man Mike Scott are here for the 61st liberation of kiwi on Sanctuary Mountain in Pukeatua, and these kiwi seekers are impatient to begin the wild mission.

Parawera, a seven-month-old North Island Western brown kiwi who was rescued from Waimarino Forest, will be tracked, weighed, measured and examined to ensure she’s ready to move into the main enclosure where she can roam, breed and forage in a 3500-hectare certified predator-free haven.

Leading the way is kiwi tracking dog Bella, who is certified by the Department of Conservation to sniff out new chicks.

This is the coolest thing Max Cook, 6, has done all school holidays, and he’s on high alert. “Is that a kiwi?” he whispers in the direction of a robin.

Max, of Hukanui School, has seen kiwi once before in a “big glass jar” in a zoo in a place he can’t remember.

Biodiversity ranger Mark Lammas leads our gang of 15 into the southern enclosure. This is the kiwi creche, where the trust raises western brown birds before releasing them on to the main mountain.

“To begin with our aim was to get between 30 and 40 unrelated [kiwi] birds on to the main mountain and that was our founder population – from there those birds can be self-sustainable.”

Bella leads our trail, helped by blue antennae that pick up transmitters strapped onto each kiwi’s ankle. Each one emits a different signal, and we listen for the blip-blip of Parawera. It’s a game of hot and cold.

Bella pokes her nose into a burrow where Parawera was moments earlier.

The antennae give us joy next to a valley of fern and punga. Weaving through tangled webs of vines and tripping sticks, our troop descends into the bush. Lammas, Bella and kiwi handler Nola Griggs-Tamaki split from us to find the kiwi. We wait. Max makes a fan from a leaf and a stick. Kiwi ingenuity.

Finally with a rustle and a hush, Lammas emerges from behind the vines with a shape tucked into his jumper.

Bella sniffed her out from in the base of a hollowed tree.

Lammas wants me to hold her while he does the health check. Quick tutorial – finger between the ankles, firm grip on her legs, hand under her bum, “please don’t crush her”, and our national icon is trembling in my arms.

Her feathers feel like toe toe and her tiny heart is racing. This is her midnight and we’re a foreign dream.

At 1.2kg, the birds are considered large enough to fend off an attack from a stoat.

Parawera is strong and healthy at 1.35kg. Lammas says her “back steaks” are in great shape. It’s what they like to see, plenty of meat.

“I thought she was going to be smaller,” Max confesses, “but I felt her feet and they were a little squishy.”

Sanctuary Mountain has capacity for 300 pairs of kiwi, Lammas says. That should be reached in the next 10 or 20 years, then the trust will begin exporting kiwi from the mountain “and inject them into places where kiwi have become locally extinct”.

Our troop ceremoniously gathers around the base of a hollow tree, where a dark window invites Parawera to her new world.

Lammas can’t articulate what he feels in this moment. “There’s a part of liberating our national icon, words can’t express it. There’s a great sense of pride . . . to turn around the decline of kiwi.”

Bella stands guard, a watchdog in every sense of the word. Lammas releases her into the chasm then drags some weighty green ferns over the top.

Goodnight, kiwi.

Rising kiwi numbers may mask inbreeding depression: here

Kiwi baby rescued in New Zealand


The starving kiwi chick

From the New Zealand Herald:

Tiny starving kiwi rescued from highway

7:43 PM Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

A tiny, wild, dehydrated and starving kiwi, the victim of the drought, has been rescued from a Coromandel highway by a passing couple.

Paul and Lee Sayers rescued the 185g bird near Whitianga on Monday.

They said they named the bird Pita-Pocket, because it was about the same size as the round pocket bread.

The chick was taken to Rainbow Springs in Rotorua, New Zealand‘s largest kiwi hatchery.

Kiwi Encounter kiwi husbandry manager Claire Travers said the chick was thought to be about 17-20 days old.

Other kiwi chicks about the same age weigh in at about 400g.

“The current dry conditions are a strong indicator toward his lack of nourishment as in the dry conditions bugs burrow deep and the little kiwi’s beak is not long enough to penetrate as far beneath the ground as it needs to, to reach its food source,” Ms Travers said.

Pita-Pocket had been receiving ‘intensive care’ at Kiwi Encounter and was responding well.

However, Pita-Pocket was being closely monitored because it had an injury to its beak, which could impact on breathing.

When the chick has recovered, and reaches a healthy weight to survive in the wild it will be released back to its natural habitat in the Coromandel.

New Zealand’s iconic bird, the kiwi owes its origins, not to the Australian emu as previously thought, but the extinct Madagascan elephant bird: here.

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Rare kiwis to New Zealand island


This video is called Rowi Kiwi Birds Released.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rarest kiwi species reintroduced to New Zealand’s North Island

Rowi are New Zealand’s rarest kiwi species, with an estimated 370 birds in existence. Through predation and habitat loss rowi have been reduced to just one natural population, in Ōkārito, South Westland.

Return of rarest kiwi to North Island after hundreds of years absence

June 2012. Rowi, the world’s rarest kiwi species, is returning to the North Island after an absence of hundreds of years.

Mana Island – Predator free

Twenty juvenile rowi will be going to Mana Island, near Wellington, to establish a new colony in the hope of improving the breeding prospects for the species. Normally they would be going home to Ōkārito, in South Westland, from their crèche on Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound.

“By sending a juvenile population north to predator-free Mana Island, we’re making it possible for the rowi to breed with much less human interference,” says Iain Graham, BNZ Operation Nest EggTM Ranger.

“We expect that the absence of predator pressure, better breeding conditions and less competition for territories will ensure that the Mana Island rowi produce a high number of chicks that can eventually become part of the home population in Ōkārito.”

Eggs hatched and reared in safety

The Department of Conservation removed the 20 rowi eggs from the Ōkārito forest to protect them from predators – stoats and other introduced pests – as part of BNZ Operation Nest EggTM. After they were hatched at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef, the chicks were raised to maturity on predator-free Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds. The juveniles are now ready for their long term OE. The rowi will be transferred by New Zealand Air Force helicopter from Ngāti Toa Domain across to Mana Island.

Rowi population growing

Thanks to conservation efforts led by DOC and the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust, rowi numbers have slowly been increasing from a low of fewer than 200 birds in 2007.

Pest control in Ōkārito forest is ongoing but reinvasion rates of stoats and rats mean that supplementing natural breeding using the BNZ Operation Nest EggTM programme has guaranteed a better level of success in producing young adult rowi.

BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust executive director, Michelle Impey says saving the critically endangered rowi has been a priority. “At one point it looked like the rowi decline was a tragedy in the making. It’s been a fantastic relief to see BNZ Operation Nest Egg in action; this tool has been vital in bringing the population quickly back to a point where the species, with nearly 400 birds, has a future. Still we want to get the population even higher to secure a robust population. The Mana project can help achieve this.”

“The next generation of young Mana-born rowi can help to reclaim the natural range of their ancestors further north from Ōkārito Forest,” says Wayne Costello, DOC Area Manager for Franz Josef.

“Natural breeding is far preferable to intensive management, and the outcome from the Mana colony may set a trend for other species of kiwi that are constantly under threat in their mainland sanctuaries.”

Rowi Population recovery as a result of Bank of New Zealand
Operation Nest EggTM and pest control

1996 survey put population at estimated 180 birds.
Rowi from the Operation Nest EggTM project have been released into Okarito Forest:
2009 – 33 juvenile rowi to South Okarito Forest
2010 – 35 juvenile rowi released (20 into North Okarito and 15 into South Okarito Forest)
2011 – 16 juvenile rowi released into North Okarito Forest

We have nearly 400 now, so the population is a little more secure, but we are aiming to get the population up to at least 600 to be more resilient

The BNZ Operation Nest EggTM

BNZ Operation Nest EggTM is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of key kiwi populations.
Eggs and chicks are harvested from nests to save them from stoats and cats.
The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weigh about 1kg, big enough to fight off these predators.
More than 1000 kiwi chicks have been returned to the wild since the programme began in 1994, with captive facilities and hundreds of field workers from DOC and community groups throughout the country contributing to its success.
The BNZ Operation Nest EggTM egg harvesting > chick rearing > return to the wild technique was developed for kiwi through research funded solely by Bank of New Zealand and is now also used in other species recovery programmes.

The wider picture – kiwi conservation nationally

Rowi are a success story for kiwi conservation and provide a picture of hope for what we can achieve.
Kiwi numbers nationwide have plummeted – from millions 200 years ago – to about 70,000 today. Predators and loss of habitat means they have simply disappeared from many places. The main predators for kiwi are stoats (chicks) and dogs (adults). There are five species of kiwi and each species is endangered.
The good news is there is a tremendous movement underway to ‘Save the Kiwi’. Each species now has at least one population being managed, and these are growing. The most endangered kiwi – rowi and Haast tokoeka – are increasing in number. The little spotted kiwi population is also on the rise.
There are more than 70 community-based groups working to protect kiwi on more than 50,000 hectares of private and public land. In addition, five kiwi sanctuaries help kiwi survive and thrive on mainland New Zealand – in Northland, Coromandel, Tongariro, Ōkārito and Haast.

BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust

BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust was established in November 2002 by Bank of New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird, building on a sponsorship relationship that started in 1991.
BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust is responsible for public awareness and education, fundraising, sponsorship and grant allocations for kiwi recovery nationally.
Nearly $6 million in funding grants has been provided in total since 2003.
In 2010 alone, $880,000 was allocated to community and DOC kiwi projects.

July 2013. The discovery of a kiwi chick born on Marlborough Sounds’ Orua Wairua (Blumine) Island could help secure the future for the world’s most endangered kiwi – the rowi: here.

Endangered species like the kiwi could be saved by controlled inbreeding, new research has found: here.

Kiwi chick survives New Zealand earthquake


This video from New Zealand is about a Brown Kiwi. It is a noctural flightless bird.

From the New Zealand Press Agency:

Feisty kiwi chick survives quake

Last updated 15:14 20/09/2010

A healthy kiwi chick has hatched at Christchurch’s Orana Park, allaying fears that the earthquake had damaged the egg.

The magnitude 7.1 quake on September 4 caused a power outage of four hours as well as rocking the delicate egg inside its incubator.

Orana Park staff were worried about the state of the egg and so were delighted with the arrival of the healthy chick on Friday night, public relations manager Nathan Hawke said.

The kiwi would be called Ruwhenua, which means shaky ground or the shaking of the land.

“We think this name will serve as a reminder to us of the impact the earthquake and aftershocks have had upon Christchurch and Canterbury residents,” head keeper of native fauna Tara Atkinson said.

There was an awkward moment during the hatching process when staff realised the chick had actually put its foot through one end of the egg (instead of kicking out at the middle of the egg) making it difficult to break free, Atkinson said.

But after some help from staff the brown kiwi chick hatched and is described as having a “feisty character”.

Brown kiwi are classified as being in serious decline by the Department of Conservation.

Only four zoos outside New Zealand have had kiwis hatch: here.

New Zealand probes mystery ‘kiwi’ found in Russian port: here.

June 2011: The most successful kiwi breeding season in the history of New Zealand’s national wildlife centre has ended on an extraordinary note with the surprise hatching of a white kiwi chick: here.

White kiwi Manukura: here. And here.

Northland brown kiwi in the Purua kiwi sanctuary: here.

New Zealand’s parliament voted unanimously last month to pass the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Act (CERRA), which gives government ministers the power to override almost any law in the country’s statute books. The conservative National Party government pushed through the legislation in a single evening, with the full support of the Maori Party, the opposition Labour Party and the Green Party: here.

New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, has just elected a new mayor – a green one! After a long wait for special votes to be counted, Wellington’s incumbent mayor Kerry Prendergast was pipped at the post by Green party member, Celia Wade-Brown. The Green Party described Wade-Brown’s victory as another great ‘milestone for the green movement in New Zealand’ and stated that it was a great day to be a Wellingtonian: here.

The Aptornithidae (Mantell 1848) is an extinct bird family known only from New Zealand. They have been classified into the North Island adzebill (Aptornis otidiformis, Owen 1844) and the South Island adzebill (Aptornis defossor, Owen 1871): here.

Kiwis in nature reserve


This video is about New Zealand birds.

From the New Zealand Herald:

Tiny kiwi move into a new island home

4:00AM Monday Mar 23, 2009

By Eloise Gibson

The shrill, eerie call of the smallest species of kiwi can be heard by campers on Motuihe Island near Auckland after a small group of birds were taken there on Saturday.

Up to fifteen little spotted kiwi, which weigh up to 2.4kg and are about the size of a bantam hen, were released by Department of Conservation staff in front of a crowd of about 400 onlookers.

They join kakariki, kereru, dotterels and native skinks on the island 30 minutes from Auckland by ferry.

Motuihe Trust chairman John Laurence said the island was shaping up to be a miniature version of New Zealand before humans introduced mammalian predators.

“Spotted kiwi live predominantly on Kapiti Island, so not many people get a chance to see them,” said Mr Laurence.

“We thought it would be a good thing for Aucklanders to know there were kiwi on their doorstep.”

Stoats, cats and larger predators devastated mainland kiwi populations in the 1980s.

A spokeswoman for the BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust said the little spotted kiwi population would increase by 7 per cent a year if breeding and relocation projects worked.

About 1500 little spotted kiwi are left, mainly living on offshore islands.

Mr Laurence said people who chose to stay overnight on Motuihe might see kiwi eating sandhoppers on the beach or foraging for bugs in the long grass.

He said ground-dwelling bugs were not the food of choice for other native birds on the island “so the kiwis will have a field day”.

Department of Conservation spokesman Brett Butland said the new kiwi population was the closest one to Auckland.

Overnight visitors to the island would hear the kiwi calling just after dusk.

He said the kiwis should thrive in their new home. But to help their chances human visitors should check all bags and boats for rats and stoats, and should not bring dogs to the island.

The 179ha island in the Waitemata Harbour, with its sandy beaches and native wildlife, draws thousands of visitors each year.

Coastal forest is being replanted by volunteers at a rate of about 50,000 trees a year.

Since tree planting began in 2003, conservationists have introduced saddlebacks, kakariki and skinks.

Eight pairs of rare dotterels have also settled there.

The New Zealand dotterel (Charadrius obscurus) is an endangered plover, endemic to New Zealand: here.

January 2011: The new year has got off to a great start for New Zealand’s only little spotted kiwi population, with researchers at Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington finding the first two kiwi chicks of 2011: here.

Snares crested penguin: here.

Erect crested penguin: here.