Northern and southern Fiordland tokoeka are two of four distinct taxa of tokoeka (Apteryx australis; also known as South Island brown kiwi) which are geographically separated by the Wilmot Pass. Historically, these taxa were abundant and widespread throughout Fiordland – although evidence suggests that there were naturally lower numbers in the southern parts of Fiordland (Reischeck 1887).
However, kiwi populations have declined throughout New Zealand due to habitat loss and introduced predators such as mustelids, dogs and cats. Consequently,there are currently an estimated 10 000 northern Fiordland tokoeka and 4,500 southern Fiordland tokoeka (Holzapfel et al. 2008).
Studies suggest that the trapping of stoats (Mustela erminea) gradually increases kiwi populations by 2%, but there is no chick survival during stoat plague years. Therefore, in the absence of predator management, kiwi populations in Fiordland will continue to slowly decline.
The purpose of this taxon plan is to build on the learnings from past and current programmes,and to identify the knowledge gaps and list priorities to ultimately ensure the survival of kiwi in Fiordland.
The overall aim is to restore and, wherever possible, enhance the abundance,distribution and genetic diversity of northern and southern Fiordland tokoeka.
This plan contains 11 goals relating to management, community relations and engagement, and research and innovation. It lists actions, priorities, timeframes and accountabilities to achieve these. The priority actions are to optimise and increase large-scale pest control to benefit Fiordland tokoeka,and to gain an understanding of the population trend and distribution of northern and southern Fiordland tokoeka throughout Fiordland National Park.
The recovery of kiwi populations is the responsibility of all New Zealanders, and this plan recognises the importance of iwi and community involvement and engagement.
See Tokoeka kiwi