Kiwi Coast Reverses National Trend

(Published on 3rd April 2017)

A staggering 170,000 animal pest have been removed from eastern Northland over the last four years by communities working on projects involved in the Kiwi Coast initiative.

With the initiative now into its fifth year NZ Landcare Trust and Kiwi Coast Project Co-ordinator Ngaire Tyson says it demonstrates the power of people working together and the impact they are having on Northland’s predators.

In 2016 alone, a total of 56,455 animal pests were trapped, meaning that every week more than 1000 pests are being removed from the Kiwi Coast. These figures are based on trap catch data and do not take into account many more thousands of pests taken out with toxins.

Meanwhile the initiative continues to grow with more than 80 associated groups and individuals now pest trapping over 125,217 hectares of Northland. This makes the Kiwi Coast New Zealand’s largest pest control project.

Ngaire says the effects of this landscape-scale pest control are evident in the flourishing native forests, increasing kiwi numbers and the return of birdsong to previously near silent areas. This is largely due to pest numbers being controlled to low levels.

 “Northland communities are working hard to reduce animal pests and help our forests and native wildlife thrive. Together we are making a real difference on-the-ground."

“The Kiwi Coast vision of creating New Zealand’s first kiwi corridor, where kiwi can roam safely across Northland from one safe area to another, gets closer every year as communities lead the charge to not just reverse the decline of kiwi but ensure they flourish forever,” added Ngaire.

Since 2013 the collaboration of community, iwi, hapu and agency led projects involved in  the Kiwi Coast have destroyed 169,557 pests including: 69,871possums; 69,233 rats; 5,535 mustelids; 8,251 hedgehogs; 5,429 wild rabbits; 2,299 feral cats; 8,042 magpies and myna’s and 522 feral pigs.

 The shared pest results represent thousands of hours of trap setting and checking each year by a mix of unpaid and professional trappers.

Some of the groups involved in the Kiwi Coast have been operating for almost two decades and have successfully created biodiversity strongholds on both public and private land.

The Kiwi Coast works to link predator control networks of individual projects to maximise efficiencies and increase the ecological effects gained by working at a landscape scale.

The Department of Conservation’s Northland Kiwi Call Count for 2014 showed that overall kiwi were increasing at a slow and steady rate at sites along the Kiwi Coast where predators are controlled to low levels.

This bucks the national trend identified by the Kiwis for Kiwi Trust, who suggest a nationwide decline in kiwi of 2% per year.  In fact, monitoring shows that kiwi populations have more than doubled at a number of sites on the Kiwi Coast.

“As ferrets and stoats can devastate kiwi populations, removing 5,535 mustelids from the Kiwi Coast over four years is a huge part of keeping Northland kiwi numbers going up. It’s crucial now to sustain this momentum,” Ngaire concluded.

For more information: Contact Ngaire Tyson at ngaire.tyson@landcare.org.nz or visit www.kiwicoast.org.nz

 

 

 

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