A young male brown kiwi that was released into the Kaikohe reserve last week was a very lucky bird, according to Pewhairangi/Bay of Islands Department of Conservation community ranger Helen Ough Dealy.

It had been caught in a leghold possum trap on private land near Kaikohe last month, and was taken to the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre, where one toe had to be amputated.

"This is one very lucky bird," Mrs Ough Dealy said.

Certified Kiwi handler Lesley Baigent and iwi representative Ted Wihongi releasing the kiwi into a prepared burrow.
Certified Kiwi handler Lesley Baigent and iwi representative Ted Wihongi releasing the kiwi into a prepared burrow.

"The trapper did the right thing by bringing it to DOC so we could organise for its injuries to be treated.

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"The take-home message from this incident for all trappers and land owners is, even if you don't think there are kiwi in the areas you are trapping, put all traps at least 70cm above the ground. With increased pest control by the public and community conservation groups, kiwi are moving into areas they haven't been before. They can live anywhere, and are really vulnerable to traps in the wrong place.

"Our national icon is also vulnerable to dogs. In the North, dogs not under control are the main killers of kiwi, so please keep all dogs under control at all times."

Andrew Mentor, from Kiwi Coast, said the bird had been caught not far from the cycle trail tunnel, but the outcome had been very good, thanks to the trapper's prompt action.

There were quite a few kiwi in the reserve, and predator control would be ramped up in honour of the new resident. Around 50 stoats had been caught in the reserve over the last year, along with a reasonable number of stray cats. Dogs were also an issue.

It was initially thought that this kiwi was an older female, but certified kiwi handler Lesley Baigent confirmed that it was in fact a young male.

Meanwhile the publiccan take part in this year's kiwi listening campaign (June 2-20, July 1-20). Anyone who wants to learn how to listen, and to differentiate between the calls of kiwi, pukeko and ruru (moreporks) should contact their local conservation group, or ring DOC (on (09) 407-0300.

Local conservation groups will have Have a go at kiwi listening stalls at the Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri markets for a month from mid-April, and DOC will also be offering free practical kiwi call listening workshops in the last two weeks of May at Whangaroa, Russell and Waimate North. Contact DOC for dates and locations.