200th kiwi released in Maungataniwha Forest

  • 06/04/2015

A conservation group in a remote part of Hawke's Bay is celebrating a milestone achievement. It's just released its 200th kiwi chick back into the wild.

The young kiwi Tanekaha, which means strong man, has been returned to the remote Maungataniwha Forest.

Tanekaha is the symbol of a saved kiwi population.

Simon hall, who owns the company Tasti Foods, bought the 6000-hectare block of bush in 2005.

He soon discovered there was a remnant population of 60 kiwi birds on the land.

They were the last survivors and surrounded by a plethora of predators. Their outlook wasn't good.

"No one else was going to come in and save them, so we established the project ourselves," says Mr Hall.

That project involves trapping stoats that kill kiwi and the difficult task of finding and collecting their eggs so they can be incubated artificially away from hungry rats.

"Although it's wet and it's cold, it's a great feeling when we bring the eggs back to the camp," says Mr Hall.

After the eggs hatch the young are reared at conservation parks.

Then, like Tanekaha, they are returned when they are old enough and strong enough to fend off stoats.

"He's got every chance of surviving and successfully breeding," says Mr Hall.

Eight years after the project started, the kiwi population is booming and now conservationists are collecting as many eggs a year as there were kiwi to begin with.

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source: newshub archive