Conservationists celebrate a conservation win after the Brown Kiwi and the Okarito Kiwi are downlisted from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’.
Two of New Zealand’s iconic Kiwi species have been downlisted from Endangered to Vulnerable after a 30-year effort to save the small, flightless birds. The North Island Brown Kiwi and the Okarito Kiwi (Rowi) have both been downlisted according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
In the mid-1990s there were only 160 Rowi but due to extensive conservation efforts, there are now 450 adult individuals. Although this is by no means a full recovery, the species populations are growing and conservationists are hopeful for the future success of the rare birds.
Due to a project called ‘Operation Nest Egg’, the Brown Kiwi population has been growing at approximately 2% per year in managed populations. Unmanaged populations are still under serious threats due to the presence of invasive species and are still declining. However, with the growing populations overall, the species appears to be on the road to recovery.
Conservationists are excited to have secured the species at a ‘Vulnerable’ status, but these birds are by no means out of the woods yet. Their populations are still small and invasive predators remain a threat many species of New Zealand’s native birds. Kevin Hackwell, Chief Conservation Officer for Forest & Bird commented:
Predators continue to be the biggest threat to Kiwi survival, which is why the latest Kiwi Recovery Plan is seeking a significant increase in large scale pest control efforts to save all of our kiwi species.
For now, we can celebrate the fact that these two species appear to be on the rise and although there is still more work to be done, a sign of progress is inspiring.
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