Over the past year we have been supporting the Taranaki Mounga Project and monitoring kiwi released on Taranaki Maunga and in the Kaitake Ranges, this work is led by Sian Potier our Kiwi Operations Leader with Kiwi Ranger Toby Shanley doing a the serious work on the Mounga. Te terrain is difficult to track kiwi in and Toby spends up to three days a week trying to keep a line on the whereabouts of these birds with radio transmitters attached, codes from the transmitters give us a host of data on the bird including information on breeding habits, time spend feeding out of the burrow and of course their whereabouts….or not! It was a cracker season in the Kaitake Ranges with breeding getting underway quickly, on Taranaki Maunga it was a little slower than previous years but there will definitely be a few new chicks running around up there. Ten kiwi were released into the Kaitake Ranges and all birds paired up and established territories,all five pairs attempted to breed this year with at least three pairs successfully hatching chicks. The other pairs may well have been first time breeders and still figuring out how to do things.
On Taranaki Maunga two monitored pairs successfully bred this year. Quite a few of the kiwi we were monitoring were young female birds and they were quite difficult to keep track of, however, with the help of our awesome volunteer team and the occasional Skyranger flight we have managed to keep a line on all the birds and track their movements. Unfortunately Primo (the kiwi) dropped her transmitter earlier this year however based on the 100% survival rate of all other kiwi we are monitoring we can be confident she will be thriving in her new home. We are thrilled that there have been no recorded deaths by predation of the kiwi we have been tracking, proof that the trapping work Taranaki Mounga Project, DOC and TKT are doing supported by a host of volunteer organisations and individuals is doing the job of protecting the birds from predators.
With the breeding season over we are now catching the kiwi we have been monitoring for their annual transmitter changes and health checks. It is a great chance for us to reward our fantastic kiwi beeping volunteer team during this time by allowing them to come and meet the birds they have been busy keeping track of all year. A huge thanks to the Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust and to the TKT Maunga Beeping Team for all your hard mahi over the past year. This work would not be possible without you. The staff and volunteers at Taranaki Kōhanga Kiwi at Rotokare (our partnership with Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust) are now planning for further translocation of kiwi from Kōhanga at Rotokare Sanctuary to Te Papakura o Taranaki later this year.
Pictured is Eve Cozzi TKT volunteer and ex Trustee tracking a bird on the Mounga.