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Eggcellent year for kiwi chicks

7 June 2006 Media Release

Egg-cellent year for kiwi chicks


A bumper breeding season has resulted in 135 kiwi chicks being successfully hatched and reared in captivity over the last year. Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi’s Operation Nest Egg programme is responsible for the good work and report that numbers are up from just over 100 chicks at the same time last year.

The success of the programme is growing, not only in terms of chick numbers, but also in support and resources. Another egg incubation facility came on board over the last year, bringing the total number of facilities from 5 up to 6. Pukaha Mt. Bruce produced two chicks in their first season with Operation Nest Egg.

Down south, great progress has also been made at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch. The facility is now equipped to incubate the eggs of our rarest kiwi breed, the Rowi. A much needed boost for a breed that is in very real danger of extinction.

“It’s been a fantastic year, “ says Michelle Impey, Executive Director of Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust. “We can now boast a total of over 700 chicks hatched since the programme started in 1994.”

Only 5% of chicks hatched in the wild in areas without predator control make it to adulthood. Through Operation Nest Egg, that figure is increased to 40%.

But despite the success of Operation Nest Egg to date, the national kiwi population is still on the decline, according to the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Paul Jansen, National Kiwi Co-ordinator, says the kiwi population in unmanaged areas declines by approximately 6% per year. Two of the species of kiwi are listed as ‘nationally critical’, which means there are less than 250 of them left. It’s a critical situation that demands action.

The main reason for declining numbers of kiwi in the wild is the loss of kiwi chicks to predators such as stoats, ferrets, weasels, cats and dogs. According to Jansen there is currently 120,000 hectares of land under protection for kiwi in New Zealand and the aim is to increase that to a target of 200,000 hectares as soon as possible.

“Our goal in ten years time is to have all eleven different varieties of kiwi living in a number of populations that are self supporting,” he explains.

To support the Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, the public can donate using their EFTPOS card at any Bank of New Zealand ATM machine, or donate online at www.savethekiwi.org.nz or at any branch of Bank of New Zealand.

ENDS

About Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust
Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust was established in November 2002 by Bank of New Zealand and the Department of Conservation, building upon a 12-year sponsorship relationship. The Trust is responsible for public awareness and education, fundraising, sponsorship and grant allocations for kiwi recovery nationally.

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