A Forest Bridge Trust Community liaison team will visit landowners surrounding Mount Tamahunga early next year promoting predator control efforts to protect kiwi.
The effort comes in the wake of a planned release of about 30 kiwi on the mountain next year.
Kiwi disappeared from Tamahunga in the 1980s, but more than a decade of pest control work on the mountain by Tamahunga Trappers, Auckland Council, the Department of Conservation and Ngati Manuhiri have convinced environmentalists that it’s now safe for them to return.
To ensure the continued protection of the translocated birds, the Forest Bridge Trust wants to create a 7000ha buffer zone around the mountain by encouraging landowners there to engage in trapping efforts themselves.
Forest Bridge spokesperson Tris Bondsfield says strategically placed traplines to capture predators before they reach the kiwi safe zone will be “incredibly important lines
“Landowners keen to have stoat, ferret and weasel trapping on their land will be an integral part of this,” she says.
Forest Bridge will offer training and equipment to landowners willing to participate in creating the buffer zone.
“We are interested in talking to anyone in the area, interested in being a kiwi protector and making their community kiwi-safe,” Tris says.
She says, sadly, the national kiwi population continues to decline, with less than 5 per cent of hatched chicks making it to adulthood.
However, predator trapping efforts in buffer zones can see survival rates jump to as high as 95 per cent.
Controlling predators for kiwi also has the knock-on effect of protecting other native species – increasing birdsong and biodiversity.
To join the kiwi conservation project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.