The rowi is New Zealand’s rarest kiwi with only about 600 individuals left in the wild in a single population at Ōkārito. A number of suspected hybrids between rowi and little spotted kiwi have been found over the years.

This led the Department of Conservation to wonder whether the genetic integrity of rowi had been compromised by an influx of little spotted kiwi genes, and a recent collaboration between Te Papa and Kristina Ramstad (University of South Carolina Aiken), Hugh Robertson and Rogan Colbourne (Department of Conservation) examining the extent of this hybridisation is described here by Science Researcher Lara Shepherd and Curator Vertebrates Alan Tennyson.Read more