'Saving a National Icon', a study conducted by Landcare Research, has given deep insights into the possibility of saving New Zealand's treasured native bird, the kiwi.
It is the first official report to estimate what it would cost to achieve stability of the kiwi population, and ultimately to encourage sustained growth.
The study found that work carried out by the Department of Conservation, the Kiwis for kiwi charity, and over 90 community projects is, in fact, making a difference, and showing it is still possible for kiwi to be saved from extinction.
Kiwis for kiwi commissioned the research, and its executive director Michelle Impey says although unmanaged kiwi populations are estimated to be declining by 2 percent per year, 'Saving a National Icon' found kiwi are increasing in number in areas where human intervention is taking place.
"The report highlights the vital role of volunteers in sustained habitat protection. The survival of kiwi is dependent on ongoing efforts of community volunteers on private land as much as it is on large scale predator management on DOC land," says Ms Impey.
"The recent Government funding is a significant contribution towards the work of saving kiwi, alongside the ongoing commitment of DOC and passionate community groups. While more work needs to be done to ensure their survival, we now know that saving kiwi from extinction is within our grasp."
Budget 2015 includes a kiwi conservation funding package of $11.2 million during the next four years. From the fourth year onward, $6.8 million will be committed anually, which it is said will provide a lot of help to the initiative to increasing kiwi populations.
Kiwis for kiwi will be raising funds through public donations, corporate sponsorship and philanthropy with the hope of raising an added $1.3 million. This is how much the organisation estimates is required to achieve an average of 2 percent growth in kiwi populations annually. The funds will contribute to predator control, research, monitoring and generation of awareness, as well as Operation Nest Egg, which plays the role of fostering kiwi eggs to avoid such predators at stoats, ferrets, dogs, and feral cats.
"At the beginning of the twentieth century it is believed there were several million kiwi. It is estimated there are now around 70,000 kiwi," says Ms Impey.
"A tremendous amount of work has been done and we now know where we need to focus our efforts going forward and how much it is likely to cost. We can save the kiwi from extinction with ongoing funding and on-the-ground work from our partners, DOC, Iwi and the many volunteer groups with support from New Zealanders. "