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“Having kiwi come back to our place is the best thing that has happened to us in years!” That was the enthusiastic response from one elderly couple to a resident-led movement to restore the biodiversity of a beautiful corner of Northland.
Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum has galvanised local farmers, landowners and conservationists towards a common goal: protecting native species and controlling invasive weeds and predators on the northern shores of Whangarei Harbour.
“We have large-scale farms, lifestyle blocks, DOC reserves and coastal settlements here, with a community that is passionate about caring for what’s in our backyard,” commented Helen Moodie, the group’s Secretary.
Landowners control weeds and, together with a contract trapper, maintain more than 300 traps throughout the peninsula, targeting stoats, ferrets, possums, rats and hedgehogs. This has helped kiwi chick survival rates increase from just 5% to an estimated 60%. Predator control, along with community awareness of the dangers posed by uncontrolled dogs, has seen the kiwi population on the Whangarei Heads grow from only 80 adults to approximately 400 over the past ten years.
Every season brings an influx of new predators, so ongoing control is crucial. The Tindall Foundation supported the Forum’s project costs through its Habitat Protection Funding Manager, WWF, and provided further organisational capacity building through NFP Works Ltd.
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