The rowi team had a huge couple of days catching the birds, and transporting them from Okarito up to Picton. We’ll hear more from them in a couple days but in the meantime, you can see all about this historical day on TVOne news. Rowi moved to Blumine Island
Rowi Blog: Archive for June, 2010
Sometimes my job takes me to some amazing places in New Zealand – a welcome break from being in the office – and yesterday was one of those days. I spent the day on Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds, and got to release one of our precious rowi to their new home. We hope that the new location, with its abundance of food, lack of predators and warmer climate may encourage these pairs to produce offspring, something they haven’t yet done.
Last weekend, Rein, our potential kiwi dog was put through her paces to determine if she had what it takes to become a species dog for the Department of Conservation.
Rein and her handler (me!) had to complete an interim exam which if passed would allow Rein to accompany the team into the field and start her training on real live kiwi.
Until now she has had to remain at home whenever I ventured into the field, due to the threat an untrained dog poses to our native wildlife.
The exam is three hours long and is designed to test the relationship between dog and handler, Rein’s obedience, manners, fitness and temperament, and the overall control the handler has over the dog.
Rein was required to demonstrate to the assessor some of the commands that she has learnt over the past four months. The commands she will need in the field consist of verbal commands and hand signals for sit, stay, come and stop. These were tested in a variety of ways including a prolonged stay, out of sight stay and an instant stop. Rein also had to demonstrate that she was comfortable heeling on and off the lead, wearing a muzzle, and also at being transported in a variety of different ways including helicopters, boats, quads, and of course cars.
The hard work put in by Rein over the past four months definitely paid off. She ran, sat, came, stopped, heeled, rode and wore her muzzle with pride. Oh, and she passed too!!
As a reward, she received a shiny new orange collar so she can be seen easily in the bush, then she was taken to Motuara island on her first field trip. While there, she met her first of hopefully many kiwi and accompanied myself and Hayley all over the island in search of last year’s kiwi chicks for their health checks and transmitter changes.
Did You Know?
Older kiwi are feisty and able to defend themselves with sharp claws and strong legs, but they are still killed by dogs and ferrets.