An exciting project enhancing the kiwi population at Lake Rotoiti

Photo- Tracey Grose

Photo- Tracey Grose

The future of great spotted kiwi (GSK) at Lake Rotoiti has been greatly enhanced by the launching of a Friends of Rotoiti (FOR) project. Kiwi calls are only occasionally heard  in the Park and we hope to increase this unique experience.

FOR has been granted $55,000 from the Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Fund towards a 3 year project, in partnership with DOC, to enhance the existing GSK population.

16 GSK scourced from the Goulan Downs in Kahurangi National Park were introduced by DOC to the Mainland Island via 2 translocations in 2004 and 2006. Breeding activity was not as high as expected so 13 additional birds from Operation Nest Egg (ONE) have been added over the last 5 years with limited success.

Currently there are about 30 GSK in the Mainland Island and the project aims to increase the genetic biodiversity making the founder population more sustainable. It has been determined that at least 40 individuals are necessary for a viable founding population. This genetic diversity increase will be achieved by locating, capturing and introducing a further 20 birds.

FOR has been working in partnership with DOC for 16 years and has developed an excellent working relationship however we will need increased public support over the next 3 years to assist with this intensive work.

The initial stage of the project involves the training of FOR members in all aspects of kiwi location, capture, translocation and management. We are working towards developing a dedicated “hands on” group of kiwi enthusiasts to make this project successful. Persons wishing to join and/or support this group can contact FOR through the website www.friendsofrotoiti.co.nz.

“What New Zealand conservationists have done is to demonstrate that you have to be active, you have to be imaginative, decisive – you have to do something”.

Sir David Attenborough

Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project opening, Lake Rotoiti, February 1997