Air New Zealand has played a significant part in the Department of Conservation’s largest-ever translocation effort, flying 30 little spotted kiwi to new homes throughout the North Island.
Ten female kiwi have been flown from Kapiti Island to Red Mercury Island off the Coromandel Peninsula, while 10 males and 10 females from Kapiti Island have been transferred to Cape Sanctuary in Hawke’s Bay.
The translocation effort which has involved Air New Zealand, DOC, Kiwis for kiwi, Cape Sanctuary and local iwi is to improve the genetic diversity of the species.
Air New Zealand Manager Sponsorship and Communities Meghan Blair says it’s exciting to be involved in such a large scale translocation to support DOC with its breeding programme.
“The birds are flown on Air New Zealand passenger flights using specially built boxes and our crews take a lot of pride in making sure they get to their destinations safely.
“Since the partnership between Air New Zealand and DOC began in 2012, the airline has provided flights for more than 1600 wildlife to travel around the country, including takahe, kakapo, tuatara and kiwi.”
Department of Conservation Hawke’s Bay Operations Manager Dave Carlton says the transportation of endangered wildlife by air helps to reduce the stress for staff and their precious cargo, including the little spotted kiwi.
“Transporting wildlife requires a safe pair of hands. Air New Zealand’s role in getting these kiwi simultaneously around the country to multiple destinations is invaluable. This great team approach takes the hassle out of getting wildlife to where it needs to be.”
Air New Zealand’s partnership with DOC sees the airline support biodiversity projects, conservation initiatives and promote the Great Walks throughout the country. Air New Zealand’s support for the Department of Conservation is worth more than $1 million annually.