Kererū numbers soar to new heights

Supplied photo.

Organisers of the Great Kererū Count are thrilled with how many participants took part in this year’s Count and the number of kererū observations made.

Whether it is because people are more tuned into nature following Covid lockdown, or if it’s simply that there’s just heaps of kiwis who are passionate about kererū, either way – the numbers are looking fantastic.

Last week, New Zealand community scientists made more than 10,279 observations of kererū, with a total of 21,509 kererū counted.

This is well up on last year’s Count of 6,700 observations and 14,248 kererū.

This year’s observations and number of kererū counted are the highest ever seen.

“I can’t thank people enough for their contribution to growing the scientific understanding how kererū are doing across New Zealand,” says Great Kererū Count coordinator, Tony Stoddard.

“It is absolutely heart-warming to see so many people across NZ taking part in the count – from Kaitaia to Rakiura and everywhere in between.

"There have also been loads of incredible stories shared about experiences with kererū over the 10 days of the count – it is inspirational and makes me feel incredibly hopeful for a future where kererū numbers are as abundant as they once were.”

The high number of observations is positive both for kererū numbers, as well as for New Zealanders.

Last week’s Count coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week, and Associate Professor Stephen Hartley, Director of the Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington, comments on how appropriate it has been for people to get out and count kererū.

“There is good evidence that spending time outdoors and re-connecting with nature is good for your health, and in particular mental wellbeing. And so I hope that at the end of this week – despite the stormy weather over the weekend, people can feel really good in every sense of the word about having taken part in the Great Kererū Count,” says Associate Professor Hartley.

“The Great Kereru Count doesn’t tell us exactly how many kererū there are in the country, but with another year’s data we will be able to tell if numbers are increasing or decreasing in certain areas relative to others. We will be particularly interested to see if there is any correlation with food source, proximity of forest habitat and with predator control initiatives which are growing around the country. This latest Count certainly makes us feel hopeful that kererū are on an upward trend.”

The Great Kererū Count is a collaborative project lead by Urban Wildlife Trust & Kererū Discovery together with partners Wellington City Council, Dunedin City Council/City Sanctuary, Nelson City Council and Victoria University of Wellington.

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