It has been a bumper year at the Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary more than 25 kiwi chicks crèched at the in the reserve and the conservation team on track for a record survival rate.
Already this summer, the Sanctuary has taken in 28 young kiwi, with another five newborn chicks to arrive before the breeding season is over.
Despite a slow start due to dry conditions, the Sanctuary’s chicks have grown really well, with good rain and a fantastic new team assembled to look after them, says Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary Manager Beau Fahnle.
Nine of 28 Kiwi have already been transferred back to the forest with another four reaching their target weight and now ready to make the move as well.
The busy summer season comes after the Sanctuary and Cape Kidnappers lodge celebrated 10 years of operation in November 2017.
Highlights from a decade at the Cape Sanctuary include major improvements in biodiversity as well as:
- Establishment of a population of more than 100 North Island brown kiwi. Each year since 2011, 30 to 40 kiwi chicks are creched at the sanctuary for Operation Nest Egg.
- Establishment of 60 tuatara, with young sanctuary-bred tuatara now found at the Sanctuary; one of the first instances of Tuatara breeding in the wild on New Zealand mainland in more than 200 years.
- Establishment of Takahe, which have produced more than 10 chicks. A significant achievement for one of NZ’s rarest birds with only approximately 260 remaining.
- Successful establishment of healthy populations of forest birds that were absent a decade ago; whiteheads, robins, tomtits and rifleman.
- Translocation of numerous birds including three species of seabird, with many now returning to the area and successfully breeding.
The Cape Sanctuary is the largest privately owned and funded wildlife restoration project of its kind in New Zealand, and boasts the most diversity of native birds on an area of mainland coastal New Zealand.
The Sanctuary covers three properties on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula – the Robertson’s Cape Kidnappers Station, as well as part of Haupouri Station (owned by the Hansen family) and Ocean Beach Wilderness property (owned by Andy Lowe and his wife Liz).
The project began with the building of a 10.6km coast-to-coast predator-proof fence across the base of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula. Completed in 2007, the fence prevents predators invading the 2500ha headland, bringing back the coastal communities of land birds, sea birds, reptiles and invertebrates. Key to these efforts are the relocation and protection of juvenile kiwi bird, the preservation of the gannet colonies and the protection of precious flora and fauna that would otherwise be at risk from predators.