Kid run over by kiwi
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionSt Thomas’ School of Winton got more than they bargained for on their recent camp at the Deep Cove Hostel in Doubtful Sound.
Date: 19 August 2010
St Thomas’ School of Winton got more than they bargained for on their recent camp at the Deep Cove Hostel in Doubtful Sound. While out exploring the bush at night with DOC education ranger, Nicky Jackson, a shadow hurtled its way out of the forest, running over student Jack Dyer, before disappearing into the bush on the other side. Amidst all the confusion of ‘possum?’, ‘weka?’, ‘kiwi?’ a torch was switched on and its beam probed into the forest, revealing the rear end of a quickly retreating kiwi.
With some subtle persuasion (the imitation of a kiwi's piercing call), the kiwi called back, then made its way out of the forest and onto the road for all to see her magnificent long beak and strong but stubby feet.
"It was most likely a southern tokoeka kiwi" said Ms Jackson. "They are sometimes heard but rarely seen around Deep Cove".
The name tokoeka comes from Ngai Tahu - weka with a 'toko' or walking stick. They are sparsely distributed in Fiordland and their numbers are believed to be in decline. The main culprits to their demise are stoats, which kill the vulnerable chicks and juveniles. Studies of kiwi in other parts of New Zealand show that 95% of kiwi chicks are killed before the age of six months by introduced predators.
Thankfully, the kiwi around Doubtful Sound are getting a hand in fighting stoats, rats and other predators which threaten them. Students on camp at the Deep Cove hostel help maintain a trap line from the Deep Cove wharf to the hostel. This line of defence is continued by Nigel Lamb of Fiordland Explorer Charters who has established a pest control programme consisting of two hundred traps from deep Cove, across the Wilmot Pass to West Arm and the Percy Burn Saddle, as well as the Spey River.
“Protecting native species in Fiordland is a massive task and one where every contribution counts,” said Hannah Edmonds, Biodiversity Ranger at DOC. “The efforts taken by the children on camp and this small tourism company should be applauded”.
After St Thomas’ School’s impressive sighting of a kiwi it looks like these efforts to protect our national treasure are working well.
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