Losing a member of our kiwi family was never going to be easy and especially when they have been a part our project story for a very long time.
Sadly, Maru, one of the oldest birds we monitor was discovered dead by Bob last Tuesday. Our kiwi expert Sid Marsh has estimated he was probably over 50 years old. In spite of his old age and his non-existent reproductive abilities it didn’t stop Maru from the thrill of the chase, and in 2014 he was heard calling/dueting with a female! The team were impressed with his attempts, although no chick ever eventuated.
We changed his transmitter in May 2016, then two months later he went off the airways. We thought he had been chased off his territory which happens as they get old. Bob spent many hours searching to no avail. We were thrilled when we found him within his territory in early December with the help of the kiwi specialist dog. His transmitter was faulty and had failed. He has been blind since we first caught him in 2004 and during his annual checks we had been recording that he was slowly losing condition. We put a new transmitter on him. On the weekend his transmitter beeped the mortality code, where it had been since his death on January 6th.
Maru always responded to Bob’s kiwi whistle calling with his distinctive squeaky call reply. He died of natural causes, still in his own territory. We were pleased we found him again before we finally lost him.
RIP Maru we will miss you.