Moa Conservation Trust Newsletter Winter 2021
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From the Chair 


It's been a while since we've sent out an update, but our work on predator eradication in the Remutaka region has been ongoing.

You may recall that we hit the ‘pause button’ on our possum trapping after OSPRI's successful 1080 drop over our operating zone back in 2017. Since then we expanded our trapping activities to a 3000ha area on the east side of the Orongorong River to help protect the existing kiwi population on the opposite side of the river, primarily targeting stoats. You can refresh your memory about what this entailed here.

OSPRI were planning to carry out a further drop later this year, but this has been postponed until 2022. With this delay and the known increase in the presence of possums in the area (and a good reason for us to get out and enjoy the forest!) we are looking to resume our possum trapping operations in the Catchpool and Turere valley area. See - Around the traps - below for more information.
We've been working with the Remutaka Conservation Trust (RCT) - to track the kiwi population in the Remutaka Forest Park. 
As well as trapping stoats on an ongoing basis, we recently had another reason to head out into the bush.

In early June, a 20-strong troupe of RCT and MCT stalwarts and young enthusiastic conservationists spent a full-on, fun weekend together, all in the name of science. The aim was to deploy acoustic monitoring equipment on the east side of the Orongorongo River where MCT has been trapping, to determine if kiwi had crossed the river and taken up residence there. The 41 acoustic recorders used were strategically located across the target area and were set to record sounds during the night and pick up any kiwi calls present.

For those who didn't nab a ride in one of the two borrowed DoC vehicles, the weekend started with a one and a half hour walk from the Catchpool carpark to the Landcare facility where the group was based. From there, teams of two or three were  dispatched in different directions using their GPS to find pre-determined sites to install their acoustic recorders. The recorders were left out for 21 nights, before being retrieved by some of the team. 

Susan Ellis, a RCT resident kiwi expert and the key organiser of this weekend exercise, has been analysing the hundreds of hours of recording with the aid of Ned Bruno. The preliminary findings show either confirmed kiwi presence or a very high confidence of their presence, at several locations on the east bank, including a male and female pair…. exciting news indeed, go kiwi! You can check out the preliminary results here (you'll need to scroll down the page to see the map). We look forward to hearing - no pun intended - the final results from Susan in due course.

This acoustic monitoring work will continue in the future with a monitoring programme to be formalised shortly, which will contribute to the overall RCT kiwi monitoring and management programme in the Remutaka Forest.

Ngā mihi
Jamie McNaught
The acoustic recorders are attached to trees above head height so they can get the best sound coverage possible. You can just see the black monitor at the top of the tree trunk in the foreground.

Did you know?

The Kiwi for Kiwi website is the place to go for all things kiwi. Here's a snippet from their plethora of knowledge:-

Kiwi have many weird and wonderful features thanks to New Zealand's ancient isolation and lack of mammals. It is thought they evolved to occupy a habitat and lifestyle that elsewhere in the world would be filled by a mammal, and their one-off evolutionary design holds all sorts of biological records

Kiwi call at night to mark their territory and stay in touch with their mate. The best time to listen is on a moonless night, up to two hours after dark, and just before dawn. That’s when kiwi stir from their burrows and call to make contact with their partner or family, and to mark their territory.

Deciphering sounds in the night forest can sometimes be confusing. Click here to hear the distinctive calls of a range of kiwi and the nocturnal animals sometimes confused for a kiwi.

What to Listen For

The call of the male kiwi is repetitive and shrill and has 8-25 notes.

The call of the female is a repetitive guttural sound of 10-20 notes.

Around the traps

Instead of trapping, this merry band deployed 41 acoustic recorders over two days in June, which were then retrieved three weeks later. 


As Jamie mentioned above, we are gearing up to resume possum trapping in early 2022 but will be servicing the traps later this year to ensure they are working properly. We will be in touch with the possum trapping team in preparation for this time.

We've been getting to grips with some pretty cool technology to mark the position of our equipment in the bush. Rather than struggling with marks on a map, the location of each trap is recorded using Garmin GPS' and  TOPO 4 GPS software.
..... and to keep us safe we never go anywhere without our ResQlink Personal Locator Beacons.
Be part of the trapping team – contact our Trapping Manager Deb McNaught to find out what’s involved. 
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