Five kiwi birds have recently been released on Motutapu island. This actually is a predator free island, making the perfect home for the five Coromandel brown kiwi. This species of kiwi birds is one of the most challenged in the country. Figures indicate that there are only 1500 kiwis left into the wild nowadays.
This release is part of the effort to build a large breeding population, launched by a New Zealand protection agency. The agency, Kiwis for kiwi, has as its main goal building a large population of kiwis that will allow the relocation of the species back to mainland sanctuaries. The founder of this organization hopes he will receive all the support needed to achieve his goal.
“Like many of us, I thought our national bird was so important that its population was stable, so I was deeply concerned to find out that without help, kiwi would be virtually gone from the mainland in our lifetime,” Sir Graham Henry, Kiwis for kiwi founder declared according to The Aucklander.
He added that the organization aims to save kiwi birds and it will strike national pride to achieve this purpose. “New Zealand without kiwi is unimaginable,” Sir Graham explained, and hopefully this is exactly what people will think, too.
Kiwis for kiwi hopes that in the following six years no less than 50 Coromandel brown kiwis will be moved to Motutapu Island. The survival of this species is believed to be much dependent on keeping the island free of dogs and animal pests. Due to predators, no less than 95 percent of all kiwis living in unprotected areas die before reaching breeding age.
This is why it is extremely important for people visiting Motatapu to understand that traveling with dogs to the island in not an option. Mice, rats and other pests should not be brought to the island, either. These pests have to be kept away from this location, as in a matter of a few days a dog can eliminate the entire kiwi population.
Efforts to save kiwi birds have been registered in the past few years, but releasing these five kiwis makes a whole new era in kiwi protection. The release is just the start of a new program that aims to built a Coromandel brown kiwi population on Motutapu Island.
Volunteers have worked on the island since 1994. They have planted more than 400,000 native trees to create a viable forest habitat for the return of native wildlife. Everyone interested in supporting this project can make donations or volunteer to work with the organization.