Thames Coast Kiwi Care
Who are we?
Thames Coast Kiwi Care was set up by the Thames Coast Protection Society in 2006, with support from DOC. We are an Incorporated Society registered as Thames Coast Kiwi Care Incorporated 2009848 with the Charities Commission (CC40090). We fundraise with an annual concert, auction and through stalls in and around Thames. Membership is more than 300 . We have a number of volunteer trappers, and a dedicated committee which meets monthly. We welcome new supporters, members and volunteers.
By removing mustelids and educating the local communities, our primary goal on both private and DOC land is to enhance the conditions for kiwi already living there to the point where they represent a viable, self-sustaining population.
Why is this work necessary?
The Coromandel Brown Kiwi is seriously declining in places where predators are not controlled. For instance, Kiwi surveyed south of the Kopu-Hikuai Rd area in the 1990s were not found in surveys in 2014. The worst kiwi predators are ferrets and stoats, but uncontrolled dogs also pose a problem. Trapping for stoats and ferrets will increase the survival rate for young kiwi. Just a 20% survival rate for kiwi chicks is enough to ensure the population is stable. More than this will increase the population!
Where is the project area?
We operate within approximately 2,300 ha of private and DOC land behind Te Mata and Tapu.
Are dogs allowed in the Kiwi Project Area?
Dogs are a major threat to both adult and juvenile kiwi. Private landowners decide whether dogs are allowed on their land but any dog entering the DOC estate must be Kiwi Aversion Trained (KAT). Your dog(s) can receive free KAT at various locations around the Coromandel. Please contact DOC or watch for local notices as to where and when you can receive KAT for your dogs.
Private landowners can choose to be part of the project if they wish to be and approve anything that happens on their land, including the number and location of traps and who has access to their land via an agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The group does not interfere with landowner’s rights.
We use DOC 200 traps in wooden boxes to target stoats and Connibear traps for feral cats. Traps are serviced and baited with eggs or rabbit lure, once a month in winter and fortnightly in summer. Traps are checked mostly by volunteers. Our paid Coordinator liaises with trappers, the community, agencies and also audits trapping gear and trap lines, manages rosters and collates trapping data.
Operation Nest Egg (ONE)
Kiwi chicks are particularly vulnerable to stoats. Now in use nationwide, a process has been developed in which kiwi eggs are harvested just before hatching, incubated and hatched, and the young chicks released into temporary predator-free safe havens. When they reach the target weight of approximately 1200 grams, they can be released back into their home territory with a much better chance of survival. Thames Coast Kiwi Care became involved in ONE in 2014 and the first release of juvenile birds back in Te Mata will occur in early 2016.
One of our kiwi practitioners, Tommy Herbert (seen in this photo) locates birds with his dog and attaches transmitters to male birds to help with the later harvest.