Drought is being predicted for much of the country this summer, as the effects of El Niño start to kick in. But what does drought mean for kiwi?

When the ground is dry and hard, it’s difficult for kiwi to probe the ground for food. As the bills of kiwi chicks are softer than those of adults, dry conditions are especially hard on the young.

Kiwi get most of their moisture from their food, so they have to forage longer and further than usual.

This means they can emerge from their forest habitat in daylight, which increases the risk of being run over by cars or encountering dogs which are a threat to kiwi.

Kiwi will become dehydrated and overheat during the day.

They will look for water in cattle troughs and ponds. Unfortunately, they can drown when they fall in and can’t get back out.

Dry conditions can also consolidate kiwi and their predators to the same limited water sources, so it is important to keep on top of vigilant predator control.

So how do you help kiwi during a long, hot summer?

  • Put water out for kiwi.
  • If you have low-sided bodies of water (like fish ponds, cattle troughs, even swimming pools) put rocks and planks in them to help kiwi climb out should they fall in.
  • Keep your dog under control at all times, day and night.
  • Report kiwi that seem to be in trouble to your local Department of Conservation Office or call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).