In a remarkable win for wildlife enthusiasts and conservationists alike, the chirps of two newly hatched kiwi chicks echo through the hills of Wellington, New Zealand.
The Capital Kiwi Project’s tireless mission to rejuvenate the once-dwindling kiwi community around Wellington’s hills has reached a momentous juncture with the birth of two precious p?p? kiwi. The announcement on Facebook exclaims, “These are the first kiwi chicks born in the wild, west of Wellington for over 150 years. M?haro!” This milestone stands as a beacon of hope for the iconic flightless bird, facing imminent threats from habitat loss and relentless predators, pushing it perilously close to the edge of extinction.
Conservationists, fueled by a collective passion for safeguarding kiwi populations, have taken substantial steps, releasing dozens of adult birds into the wild near Wellington in 2022. Recent monitoring visits revealed four resilient chicks, defying the odds and marking the first births in Wellington’s hills in over a century.
Paul Ward, founder of the Capital Kiwi Project, shared the team’s elation, saying, “This is very special for the team which has been working hard for the last few years.” Vigilant efforts continue as the team monitors the fledgling chicks until they reach a critical weight of around 800 grams, equipping them to fend off natural predators like stoats.
Local communities, especially in Mkara, have played a pivotal role in the success of conservation initiatives. The Capital Kiwi Project’s engagement with local dog owners, training them to keep their pets away from kiwi habitats, and the deployment of an extensive trap network against stoats underscore the community’s dedication. The Facebook post emphasizes the community’s role as “Kiwi guardians,” actively supporting ground-level efforts to protect wild kiwis.
With only a quarter of the released adult birds currently under monitoring, optimism surges that more chicks may emerge in the wild. The historic hatching of these chicks not only warrants celebration but also fuels hopes for the resurgence of the kiwi population, contributing to the sustained conservation and protection of these iconic birds.