Rona Island - a Kiwi crèche
Kiwi chicks are susceptible to predation by stoats. Without outside help a high percentage of kiwi born in the wild do not survive to adulthood.
Since 2008, Rona Island has been used as a crèche site for the critically endangered Haast tokoeka kiwi. As part of Operation Nest Egg (ONE), eggs and chicks are removed from the kiwi sanctuary at Haast. The eggs are hatched at the West Coast Wildlife Centre in Franz Josef. The chicks are then transferred to Orokonui Ecosanctuary in Dunedin as part of a "soft release" programme. Once the kiwi are able to fend for themselves, they are released onto Rona Island where they stay until they are big enough to fight off their main predator - the stoat.
After spending up to a year on Rona, the kiwi are either transferred back to the kiwi sanctuary at Haast or are moved to kohanga kiwi sites such as Pomona and Coal Islands.
Since becoming a crèche site, Rona has been the temporary home to over 90 kiwi.
Pomona Island - a kohanga kiwi
In 2011, Pomona became a kohanga kiwi site for Haast tokoeka. The island became a permanent home for 19 kiwi as an "insurance population" for this critically endangered kiwi species. The birds on Pomona have now started breeding and their offspring will eventually be transferred back to the sanctuary at Haast.