Kererū Discovery is part of the Urban Wildlife Trust
Photo credit - Tony Stoddard
Kererū Discovery was set up over 10 years ago as an advocacy programme to help with the education and protection of our endemic pigeon the Kererū, kukupa, kuku or Native Pigeon. Kererū have been fully protected since 1921 and while kererū are not classified as endangered, like most New Zealand forest species, their numbers have declined dramatically due to the direct or indirect result of the successive waves of human arrival into New Zealand.
Along with education and awareness on kererū, Kererū Discovery also runs the Great Kereru Count which is the largest citizen science project in New Zealand The national count uses the power of citizen science to get people out counting kererū for a 10 day period every year. The project is the only comprehensive record of how these amazing birds are doing.
The main threat to kererū is predation by introduced mammalian predators, particularly feral cats, possums, stoats and rats. These threats are even more serious for kererū during nesting season, as unlike many of our other native birds, kererū only lay one egg per nest. Other threats include collisions with man-made objects such as fast-moving vehicles, overhead power and telephone wires, fences and windows, and most alarmingly, illegal hunting of kererū.
Kererū Discovery has also worked with local and regional Councils and NZTA to help make our environment a safer place for kererū. In 2017 the very first Kererū road warning sign was approved for nationwide use across New Zealand to help warn motorist of low flying kererū in urban locations where kererū numbers have increased. Hundreds of kererū are injured or killed by car strike every year. These signs will help give people a warning that kererū are present in the area and should slow down to help prevent a collision with low flying kererū.