Warrenheip Release 2002

Kiwi can once again be found in a valley from which they disappeared over 100 years ago.

Two young kiwi were released into Warrenheip reserve, a 16 hectare restored bush area in the central Waikato, in October 2001, 18 months after the construction of a 2.4 km fence around the perimeter of the reserve, and following the successful eradication of all mammalian pests within the valley.The reserve is owned by David Wallace and Juliette Chamberlain who, since 1995, have restored the entrenched valley from a jungle of weeds and introduced trees to a flourishing native bush reserve with over 80 indigenous plant species.

Since the release of the first kiwi, more young kiwi have been reintroduced into the valley as part of the Department of Conservation Project Nest-egg initiative. To prevent the continuing predation of eggs and young kiwi by stoats, the Department of Conservation have been removing kiwi eggs from Tongariro Forest in the Central North Island and raising them in incubators at Rainbow Springs at Rotorua. To increase the number of eggs that can be hatched at Rainbow Springs Warrenheip is to be used as a “half-way house” for juvenile kiwi. When young kiwi reach 200 to 300 grams in weight they are relocated to Warrenheip where they remain until they reach adult weight of 1100 to 1200 grams. Once kiwi reach that size they have a greater natural ability to fend off predators such as stoats and so can be released back into Tongariro Forest.

Since the release of kiwi, brown teal (pateke) and Mahoenui giant weta, both threatened New Zealand species, have also been released into the Xcluder fenced Warrenheip reserve.

The reintroduction of sensitive New Zealand plant and animal species cannot be contemplated without complete eradication of all introduced mammals, and on mainland New Zealand proven pest-proof fencing is the only long term means of achieving and maintaining pest eradication.

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