THE next steps in saving the kiwi have been taken, with five of the brown flightless birds released on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf.
Five Coromandel brown kiwi were released into what has become one of Auckland’s closest wild population of kiwi.
The island was declared pest-free a year ago, with another 45 birds set to be released.
Three juveniles and two adults were set free as part of this release.
In total there are 1500 Coromandel brown kiwi across the coast, with the population being split to prevent inbreeding and to limit genetic variation.
World Cup-winning coach Sir Graham Henry is patron for the Kiwis for Kiwis charitable trust.
He was once was under the mistaken impression that the kiwi population was stable.
“I was deeply concerned to find out that without our help, kiwi would be virtually gone from the mainland in our lifetime,” Fairfax NZ reported.
The Department of Conservation has spent 20 years running a pest-eradication programme on Motutapu Island.
Bird life has since returned, including a lone takahe, to be joined by more companions soon.
Department of Conservation project manager Andrew Nelson said the new kiwis had a really good chance of survival, provided the island remained free from pests.