Kōkako are an endemic species currently classified as: ‘At Risk – Recovering’ This recent change in classification from ‘At Risk- Declining’ is a fantastic achievement and largely due to the mahi that groups such as Kaharoa Kōkako Trust and Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust have done over the years.
The KEEP vision is to achieve long term sustainability of the kōkako population by creating linkages between existing populations. The first target is to connect the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust and Ōtanewainuku Kiwi Trust project areas. The group contains representatives from various community landcare groups, (including OKT and KKT), mana whenua, private enterprise, council, local
landowners and QEII National Trust.
The core value of the project is collaboration, and their first aim is to create a predator controlled vegetated corridor between Ōtanewainuku and Kaharoa. The National Kōkako Specialist Group has identified a need for relict populations of Kōkako to expand (like the one at Kaharoa) and the creation of corridors has been suggested as an ideal way to encourage dispersal and interaction
between populations of kōkako. Through this work it will expand the genetic diversity of the kōkako populations and reduce the risk of potential genetic bottlenecks. Ultimately, it will create more connected and protected ecosystems within the Kaharoa/Ōtanewainuku landscape.
In addition to the benefits to kōkako, increased predator control in the area will have widespread biodiversity benefits and hopefully form a dispersal corridor for manu such as toutouwai/NI robin and kiwi that are also present in the area.
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Watch this space to find out more about KEEP