Tracking the success of Kiwi on Egmont National Park
The Taranaki Kiwi Trust in partnership with the Taranaki Mounga project have just completed a three year long kiwi survey in Egmont National Park. Twenty-six kiwi have been fitted with radio transmitters to monitor their movements.
The trust has a team of volunteers lead by project coordinator Sian Potier traverse the mountain to track these elusive birds. The survival rate was reasonably high and this study has allowed the trust to get an insight into how far kiwi disperse after they are released. One bird Tumatokori has traveled over 11 kilometres since its release in 2017.
Unfortunately three monitored kiwi died as a result of mustelid predation during this survey period.
Kiwi call surveys have been carried out since 2006 to monitor population trends over time. However, call surveys in 2014 and 2015 indicated the population was not increasing. This prompted Taranaki Kiwi Trust and Taranaki Mounga to complete this latest labour intensive survey to measure the survival rate and look at the dispersal patterns of kiwi after they are released. The results have been promising but the few kiwi deaths indicate there is still more we can do to protect the taonga species in Egmont National Park. Over the next few months the stoat control network will be reviewed and more ferret traps will be deployed and managed by volunteers in the park.
This work also extends on the 15-year relationship the trust has with the Department of Conservation. An ongoing effort is being made to protect the small existing population through predator control and kiwi have been released to boost the population and increase the genetic diversity.
This winter kiwi droppings were found in the North Egmont Visitor Centre car park by trust volunteer Eve Cozzi. There were also reports of tracks seen in snow behind the centre. The protection of these kiwi prompted our trust board member Drew Castle to contact the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) roading team to replacing the kiwi road sign near the centre.
Trust Manager Celine Filbee is thrilled to see the reinstatement of the sign.
“We are thrilled with the quick action from NPDC to reinstate the sign. Kiwi are vulnerable birds and alerting the general public to their presence is part of the conservation song sheet we are all singing from in the park,” says Celine. “This is also a good opportunity to remind people that dogs are banned in the park, even in a vehicle as they are a considerable threat to kiwi.”