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It’s a big job saving a species, and one that couldn’t be done without the support of volunteers. Through our partnership with our partnership with Kiwis for kiwi, we’ve seen first-hand the difference everyday Kiwis make. This National Volunteer Week we meet some of the people giving their time to help kiwi.
Jo has been involved in the conservation of roroa (the great spotted kiwi) for over 13 years monitoring wild roroa pairs, adjacent to an open-cast mine in the Paparoa Mountains on the West Coast. During this time, Jo has been involved in the release of 40 kiwi into predator protected areas.
For the first 10 years, Jo monitored the released roroa to see if they were successful at breeding in a predator controlled habitat, which involved a lot of time out in the bush searching for kiwi in pretty rugged terrain. Today Jo is able to monitor birds remotely using telemetry gear but still heads out to undertake the annual monitoring of juvenile birds and to change or attach transmitters on adult birds, which takes on average one day per bird to do.
The motivation for my work with roroa comes from my deepest affection for our natural world. The restoration of our local native forest and birdlife through predator control is already showing signs of fruition. Roroa are the most attractive and personable kiwi, with an admirably feisty disposition. Monitoring roroa gets me to some amazing, beautiful and sometimes scary places. I am very proud of the great results we are getting.
The most challenging aspect of all this is that I am getting too old. The very rugged terrain, and regular doses of very wet weather, make this physically demanding work. The stress and responsibility of getting the work done in time in the fine weather available, has become harder to handle.
Finding that our Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E) recruits were breeding successfully and having enduring family bonds with their own chicks into adulthood, as they do in wild populations. Also finding my first safe-weight chick from O.N.E. parents was the best day and more recently, seeing a 73yr old truck driver cry when he saw his first kiwi, was pretty cool.
For more information on the work to save kiwi visit kiwisforkiwi.org