The draft Kiwi Recovery Plan 2017-2027 will be open for feedback from iwi partners and other stakeholders, including conservation groups, and sets a clear path forward for the conservation of New Zealand’s national bird.
“We are committed to delivering this ambitious and forward-thinking new strategy as part of the Government’s $11.2 million Budget 2015 investment in kiwi conservation,” Ms Barry says.
Developed in collaboration with Kiwis for Kiwi, iwi, experts and NGOs, the plan has three high level goals: growing populations, maintaining genetic diversity and restoring the bird’s former distribution back into safe habitats throughout New Zealand.
“This plan focuses on growing the wild kiwi population and building on the work achieved under previous plans, rather than steadying or managing decline,” Ms Barry says.
“This Government is not prepared to accept that our national bird is at any ongoing risk of potentially becoming extinct in their natural habitat.”
Wild kiwi numbers currently sit just below 70,000, with an ongoing decline of around 2 per cent a year caused mainly by predation from stoats and dogs.
“Through DOC’s hard work supported by Kiwis for Kiwi and many other organisations, we know that where kiwi are managed we can achieve a 2 per cent population growth. The challenge lies in scaling up those efforts and supporting them.
“I’m encouraged the plan has focused on large-scale predator control to create safe habitat for kiwi, which fits very well with the broader Predator Free 2050 vision. Kiwi in remote areas need to be protected from predators while remaining in the wild to live, breed and thrive as nature intended, as they did before predators arrived.”
The plan also tackles other challenges, including maintaining genetic diversity, ensuring responsible dog ownership and measuring the effectiveness of kiwi recovery tools over the long term.
Central and local Government, tangata whenua, community, and other groups that work with kiwi will now be invited to have input into the plan.
Consultation will close on 27 January and the finalised plan will be released later in 2017.