Posted by Duncan – Rowi Team Leader
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
At the end of last week the rowi team was very privileged to be part of a Japanese nature documentary looking at weird and wonderful features of Te Wahipounamu—South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
The 30-minute documentary visited five sites through out Te Wahipounamu:
- Te Anau—to look at the glow-worm cave;
- Mount Cook—to view the beautiful starry night sky;
- Monro Beach Track— filming lush West Coast rainforest;
- Franz Josef—to look at the scientific research happening on the glacier; and finally (saving the best for last)
- Okarito—to observe the work our project is doing with rowi
The team—director Tomoko Aogagi, cameraman Yuichi Nishi, line producer Aki Yoda and I—headed off into the sanctuary to track down rowi male Ceecee and change his transmitter. After a wee walk in slightly rainy conditions we found Ceecee in a long burrow.
Duncan prepares for Ceecee's transmitter change.
I was a little worried we were going to have some disappointing images of me not being able to reach a kiwi. Luckily with a bit of stretching I was able to snaffle Ceecee and successfully change his transmitter.
The crew film Duncan straining to reach Ceecee in his burrow.
With the filming of the transmitter change completed we set up a camera in the hope of viewing rowi couple Jim and Beaumont as they left their burrow to go out feeding for the night. As it got dark we all sat very quietly a good distance away from the burrow hiding from the rain under a tarpaulin. Just after 6.30 pm we were all delighted to see Jim and the a few minutes later Beaumont sniffing their way out of their burrow. A few minutes later both birds called from about 10 meters away, and with that it was time for us to head home.
It was great to be a part of this documentary showcasing the splender of Te Wahipounamu and the very special rowi.
Posted by lizzy
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 2:36 pm
Last week the annual kiwi hui took place in Queenstown and those involved in kiwi conservation from around the country, including DOC’s rowi team, came to share stories and advice.
With beautiful Lake Wakatipu glittering outside the conference hall, we learned all about Haast and Fiordland tokoeka, North Island browns, great-spots and rowi as well as how kiwi use smell to avoid treading in poo, how alternative, four-way family units can help rearing young and what a sonograph recording of a great-spotted kiwi duet looks like.
I spoke at the presentation on taking opportunities to tell stories about kiwi conservation in the media. There is so much great stuff being done to help save kiwi around the country that it’s important to let people know what’s happening and how they can get involved.
Rowi team leader Duncan, presented about rowi and the success of BNZ Operation Nest Egg in saving the species from extinction. There was also discussion on what affects the small gene-pool available from such a tiny number of birds (at one point there were less than 300 rowi) might have on their future health and breeding success.
There were many other Operation Nest Egg success stories from kiwi species including the critically endangered Haast tokoeka – rowi’s neighbours living just down the coast. The Haast tokoeka is benefitting from similar management methods – despite the difficulty they pose to the DOC rangers working with them who have to find them in some of New Zealand’s most rugged, remote and mountainous terrain!
Ranger Kath Morris tracking the elusive Haast tokoeka kiwi through some typically challenging terrain.
Posted by Rowi Ranger
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 at 10:11 am
As part of the trainee ranger programme in Nelson, I was lucky enough to spend time working on the rowi project earlier this year. With some spare time on my hands over the Easter holidays and eager to find out how the birds and the team were doing, I headed back over to Okarito Kiwi Zone for some beach life and rowi work.
Four of us – two staff and two volunteer workers – spent the weekend out on Three Mile Beach camping and tracking adult rowi to replace their old transmitters.
We split up into two groups, DOC ranger Joe and myself tracked a rowi named Rob who wasn’t too far off the track. When we reached Rob we could see that he had a cataract - a sign of the bird’s old age. Still, it was good to see that conditions in Okarito have allowed him to survive.
Me with Rob. You can see his cateract from this photo. You have to respect this tough little bird!
The other team tracked a male bird who was found hiding with his massive girlfriend( 3 kg) in a big mound burrow. Lucky guy – female rowi are the ones who protect the burrow while the males tend to look after the eggs. This guy will certainly be well-protected by his partner!
Sunset over our camp at Three Milee Beach.
Overall the weekend mission was awesome; great weather and great company. The highlight was seeing a pair of Hector’s dolphins feeding right outside our campsite in the morning.
Posted by Duncan – Rowi Team Leader
Thursday, April 1st, 2010 at 3:44 pm
Last weekend Franz Josef and Fox hosted Westland Tai Poutini National Park’s 50 birthday celebrations.
The event featured several talks by old and new staff explaining the history of the park and why we are so lucky to have these areas protected for all of us to enjoy.
Headlining the event were six VIK (very important Kiwi) that popped in to celebrate this special weekend. The six rowi were returning home to Okarito Kiwi Zone (part of Westland Tai Poutini National Park) from their safe creche on Motuara Island – where they have been growing up away from predators as part of BNZ Operation Nest Egg.
Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson holds a young rowi returning home as part of Westland Tai Poutini National Park's 50th birthday celebrations.
The young birds wowed guests (including Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson) in the Franz Josef visitor centre and at the Scenic Circle Hotel, really bringing home to everyone why these protected areas are so vital to the countries well-being.