Have we been successful in our project to increase North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) numbers and increase survival in Egmont National Park? -
This project is conducting a large-scale, National Park-wide call survey of kiwi, including the mountains of Taranaki, Pouakai and Kaitake, to find out the current distribution and minimum number of kiwi within Egmont National Park (ENP)
Locals are also conducting a trial by releasing up to 10 kiwi into ENP with radio tracking equipment attached, to understand their dispersal patterns and survival within the predator trapped area and outside the trapped area.
When the kiwi have been released, local and national conservationists will use the data gathered from the surveys on kiwi distribution (based on confirmed presence), relative abundance, number and survival of released kiwi for decision making on the future directions for kiwi conservation in ENP.
Kiwi numbers were once very numerous on Mt Taranaki, but in the last 30-50 years numbers have dramatically reduced. This led to the establishment in 2004 of the “Egmont National Park Kiwi Conservation Programme”, a joint project between Department of Conservation (DOC) and TKT to restore the depleted Western North Island Brown Kiwi population within Egmont National Park.
TKT has released 72 kiwi into the National Park to boost the remnant population of 30-40 estimated pairs, and the Trust has led development, funding, expansion and the early-operation of an 8000-9000ha stoat-trap grid area that currently covers 25% of the 34,000ha National Park.
A baseline survey was carried out over five autumn seasons from 2006-2009. When surveyed again in 2014 and 2015, the results showed numbers were surprisingly low, with very few birds heard from the 8 mid-high altitude listening stations over 6 nights.
A recent call back survey at different sites by Tauranga Polytech students using taped kiwi calls to solicit real kiwi calls suggested that kiwi may actually be more widespread in the park than indicated by the standard monitoring results. These results highlighted our lack of robust and recent information about the true presence/absence of kiwi and their relative abundance throughout ENP.
Taranaki Conservationists, New Plymouth Tramping Club, Taranaki Alpine Club, Ngaere School, Forest & Bird, North Taranaki branch, Mangorei and Maude Tracks trapping group,Taranaki Regional Council, Scrimgeour, DOC, Massey University.
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