Kiwi breeding stud Two Toes retires in Northland

  • 20/07/2016
Two Toes being released completely free of his monitoring and tracking device into the Tanekaha (Supplied)
Two Toes being released completely free of his monitoring and tracking device into the Tanekaha (Supplied)

Kiwi stud 'Two Toes' is heading for retirement with his wife 'Blinky' after 10 years of breeding at a Northland farm.

Two Toes was found caught and injured in a predator trap 10 years ago, then rehabilitated and released into Tanekaha Community Pest Control Area (CPCA) on the edge of the Hikurangi swamp.

His apt name came after an injury caused him to lose one of his toes.

"We have nine new monitored breeding males, it's time for Two Toes to retire from monitored breeding, and for him and Blinky to live freely and safely in the area," Tanekaha CPCA coordinator Edwin Smith says.

"Two Toes and Blinky have done a wonderful job. This lovely pair has greatly bolstered the local kiwi population. They've produced hatchlings three times each year since we took over monitoring from the Department of Conservation (DOC) five years ago."

CPCA is part of the Hikurangi Living Water catchment, a 10-year partnership between Fonterra and DOC, which supports native wildlife and water quality in five catchments in dairying regions around the country.

CPCA was launched by a group of 12 Fonterra farmers, who signed an agreement with Northland Regional Council in 2012 to establish the pest control programme. Their mission is to reduce pests and create a safe environment for kiwis to thrive in.

Two Toes and Blinky have produced lots of eggs at Tanekaha in the past five years, which were hatched at Auckland Zoo before being released on Motuora.

In May, 12 kiwis were released into the CPCA, having moved from a kiwi crèche on predator-free Motuora Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

"In the wild only five percent of kiwi chicks survive because of predators, particularly stoats and feral cats. We're hoping for at least 60 percent survival and these new males will attract other females so we can increase the population even further," Ms Edwin says.

The other Living Water catchments round New Zealand are: Pūkorokoro/Miranda in Thames, Waikato peat lakes, Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in Canterbury, and Awarua -Waituna in Southland.