Could we have 100,000 kiwis by 2030?
Could New Zealand celebrate 100,000 kiwis (the feathered kind) by the year 2030?
That’s the lofty – and exciting – goal set out by the Department of Conservation’s new Kiwi Recovery Plan. This plan covers the decade starting in 2017, and has a $3.6 million research programme to help make those goals a reality.
Currently, there are an estimated 68,000 kiwis in New Zealand, and researchers believe that there haven’t been as many as 100,000 birds in the country for several decades, according to a recent NZ Herald article.
It’s also important to remember that there is more than one type of kiwi! Of those 100,000 the DoC plans to have roughly a third brown kiwi, a third tokoeka, almost 20,000 great spotted kiwi, and the rest made up of little spotted kiwi and rowi.
So how can New Zealand reach this goal?
One part will certainly be the continuation of work towards ridding the country of pests by 2050. This is being achieved through a range of methods, from government funding to community groups working to ensure our kiwis have the best chance of survival possible.
It also comes down to community education. Household dogs can pose a real threat to kiwis, so owners can learn about when those pets should be kept on a leash to avoid our favourite pooches from harming our national icons.
Volunteers can even get involved by contributing their time by helping set up pest traps to catch the stoats, possums, rats and mice that threaten the kiwi.
When the New Zealand Herald spoke to Kiwis for Kiwi executive director Michelle Impey, she was excited about the goal and said that it would take a lot of work but was certainly achievable.
"For those working hard on the ground, for those who donate time and money, for the corporate sponsors, and the volunteers, this is a huge recognition of the difference they've made, and great incentive to continue the good work," she said.
We are always excited to spot kiwis on our night-time eco tours in Tawharanui, and we certainly hope we’ll see more of these wonderful birds in future!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist