Pest-free home for released kiwi

By ILONA HANNE

Add a comment
Margaret Mullin has a cuddle with Hori before she is released
Margaret Mullin has a cuddle with Hori before she is released

There will be no pests near their nests for the two young kiwi, Piko and Hori, who are settling into their new home at the Rotokare Sanctuary.

The two female birds travelled to Rotokare last Thursday afternoon where they were each fitted with a tracking device before being released into the predator-free sanctuary just outside of Eltham.

A transmitter was placed on each kiwi before they were released.
A transmitter was placed on each kiwi before they were released.

The youngsters, about four months old, will stay at Rotokare for the next few months until they are large enough to be released onto Mount Taranaki as part of a project by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust aimed at increasing wild kiwi numbers on the mountain.

Sue Hardwick-Smith, chairperson of the Taranaki Kiwi Trust, says the latest two kiwi to be released came from Kiwi Encounter where they had been reared until they reached just over 1kg in weight, making them large enough to be released into the sanctuary in Taranaki.

Piko before she was released
Piko before she was released


"While they were hatched and incubated in Rotorua, the two kiwi came from two different places originally. Hori came from Tongaporutu, from a private land owners property there.

The other kiwi is called Piko, and she is from Whitecliffs walkway area. Parininihi Trust looks after that area."

While at Rotokare, the kiwi will be monitored and eventually recaptured to be released onto the mountain.

The kiwi were released into the Rotokare Scenic Reserve
The kiwi were released into the Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Sanctuary manager, Simon Collins, says the kiwi need to get "a little bit bigger" before they are released onto the mountain.

"While they are at Rotokare, they are able to grow without facing danger from predators which gives them the best chance of survival long-term."

Once the transmitters were safely attached to Hori and Piko, the two kiwi were taken into the bush to find their new homes.

One of the burrows ready to receive a new occupant
One of the burrows ready to receive a new occupant

In the bush, the team looked for potential nest locations for the kiwi, before placing fern leaves in and around them and releasing the kiwi into the two separate burrows.

Margaret Mullin of Opunake came along to participate in the kiwi release, purchasing a Kiwi Experience. At $500 the experience gives a group of up to 10 people an opportunity to watch the kiwi release up close, from the kiwis arriving, being weighed, measured and having their tracking devices fitted, through to their release into their new burrow.

Family and friends of Margaret Mullin enjoyed seeing the two kiwi up close before they were released.
Family and friends of Margaret Mullin enjoyed seeing the two kiwi up close before they were released.

"I love the work they do here, so this was a great way to support what they do, and get to see a kiwi up close," says Margaret. She said she loved the entire experience.

"In particular, getting to hold the kiwi. That was really special."

Margaret brought along family members and friends for the experience, and all said they enjoyed the opportunity to see the national bird of New Zealand up close.

The funds raised through selling the kiwi experience go directly to supporting the Taranaki Kohanga Kiwi at Rotokare project - a partnership between the Taranaki Kiwi Trust and the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

Sue says funding for the project comes from a variety of sources.

"As well as various individual sponsors or donations, we have received money from Curious Minds, a science-based group, Kiwis for Kiwi and the Taranaki Electricity Trust.

"Without funding partners or individuals such as these, we couldn't keep on doing what we do."

Being able to place kiwis with transmitters fitted onto the mountain is a great opportunity, says Sue.

"Currently we don't know much about what the kiwi do there, how far they move.

"So putting kiwi like Hori and Piko on the mountain with their transmitters means we can learn more about their movements, and that will help in further conservation efforts."

Find out more: www.taranakikiwi.org.nz and www.rotokare.org.nz

- Stratford Press

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 27 Apr 2017 06:39:12 Processing Time: 763ms