The Department of Conservation released two great spotted kiwi (roroa) into the Flora Valley in Kahurangi National Park this morning.
The birds are the first 12 kiwi being translocated from Gouland Downs this week in an initiative led by the Friends of Flora community conservation group.
Volunteers from Friends of Flora are camping out at Gouland Downs to catch the kiwi for relocation, which will then be transported by helicopter to their new home in the Flora Valley.
Peter Adams of Friends of Flora says that it was really exciting for the volunteers to relocate these kiwi.
“This translocation is the final part of our six year plan to establish a sustainable population of roroa in the Flora/Salisbury area.
“Our volunteers will monitor these birds regularly to ensure they stay in the protected area and establish their own territories. We will also monitor how they interact with the existing population of kiwi and their breeding success.”
Department of Conservation Motueka Operations Manager Chris Golding says there are currently around 30 kiwi in the Flora Valley and surrounding areas.
“These new arrivals will hopefully breed with the existing population this summer, increasing the genetic diversity of this small population of kiwi.”
Roroa are the largest of our kiwi species with 15,000 nationwide and can be heard by trampers on the Heaphy Track after nightfall.
The names for the 12 birds were chosen by Manawhenua Ki Mohua of Golden Bay.