• FOF volunteers

Roroa reintroduction

Roroa - Great spotted kiwi

Roroa disappeared from the Flora area some 40 years ago. We don't know exactly why, but the main threats to kiwi are stoat predation of chicks and predation of adults by dogs. With both these threats being managed we set about re-establishing adult kiwi in the Flora. Best practice, to ensure sufficient genetic diversity, is to found new populations with at least 40 birds. Roroa translocations are technically and logistically challenging, so a phased approach was developed in conjunction with DOC, iwi and the Kiwi Recovery Group. Four translocations were carried out over six years. Intensive post-translocation monitoring, to determine the success of the translocation and to learn more about this little known bird, was carried out. This became FOF's biggest project after trappings.

The first translocation to the Flora brought 12 kiwi from the Clark River in May 2010. Having determined that these birds settled into home ranges and started to breed, a further 12 kiwi were brought in from New Creek in March 2013m eight kiwi from the upper Roaring Lion in May 2013 and 12 kiwi from South Gouland in April 2016.

All the translocated kiwi were fitted with a VHF transmitter to enable us to monitor their locations and activity without having to get too close and risk disturbing these shy birds. FOF's team of expert kiwi trackers monitored the kiwi fortnightly (Sandys photo of Birgit tracking ). From this we:

  • identified kiwi that moved outside the project area and returned those that were vulnerable to predation
  • determined the location and size of home ranges and how these changed over time
  • recognised pair bond formation and stability
  • monitored breeding activity

Once breeding activity was identified the kiwi nest was found and infrared cameras installed nearby to determine whether a chick hatched and what predators visit the nest. The first chick in the Flora for decades hatched in December 2012. Many video clips were posted on Facebook to illustrate the private lives of [e.g. www.facebook.com/friendsofflora/videos/1524066417603460/) . These videos have enabled thousands of people to experience this shy nocturnal icon.

In 2018, two years after the last translocation, we had sufficient information to show that the kiwi were establishing a sustainable population in the project area. The kiwi had settled and sub-adult kiwi, bred in the Flora, were pairing with reintroduced birds. These were the success measures we were seeking and we removed the transmitters from the kiwi. We continue to monitor the number of kiwi calls to determine the ongoing status of the population.

Roroa are classified as nationally threatened with declining populations in areas in which pests are unmanaged. Roroa are long-lived (current estimates are about 50 years) but may not start breeding until eight years old or more. This means that population growth, even in ideal conditions, is very slow. FOF's kiwi project has been important in testing whether translocation is a practical conservation technique for this species and has shown that a population will grow with intensive pest control.

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Blake Ambassador's blog

The Blake Ambassadors is a programme run by the Sir Peter Blake Trust that sends young people to work on environmental and heritage projects. Natalie de Burgh, is currently working in your Flora project area. She is recording her experiences on a blog: Click here


Timeline

April 2016

12 kiwis translocated from South Gouland to the Flora area.

February 2016

Ecological surveys of the Salisbury Ecological Management Unit with joint DOC/FOF teams

Mar & April 2013

12 kiwis translocated from New Creek with another 8 kiwi released from the Upper Roaring Lion in April. See the pictures on our facebook page

Dec 2012

Our first kiwi chick is born.

Mar 2012

National Radio Interview with Maryann Ewers & Bill Rooke, founders of FoF.

Feb 2012

Man prosecuted for taking his dog into the Flora area, endangering the kiwi.

Feb 2011

10 years of Friends of Flora celebrated.

October 2010

Helen Clark, becomes Patron of Friends of Flora.

May 2010

Friends of Flora and DOC Motueka release 12 adult kiwi into the Flora. Read the monthly updates.

2004

Friends of Flora and DOC Motueka release whio into the Flora. Read annual whio survey data.

Feb 2001

Friends of Flora was founded.