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Little Spotted Kiwi Chick is Returned to Zealandia

Friday 6 December 2013

Little Spotted Kiwi Chick is Returned to Zealandia

The rehabilitated kiwi is released in the Zealandia sanctuary.
Photo by Kimberley Collins. High Res.

Saturday 6 December 2013

A little spotted kiwi has been re-released into the Zealandia eco-sanctuary after its successful rehabilitation at Wellington Zoo.

The kiwi was first noticed by a member of the public while on an evening walk along the perimeter of Zealandia. They contacted staff who were concerned that the bird was out and about in daylight. Conservation rangers were quick to the scene and able to capture the bird for delivery to The Nest Te Kōhanga at Wellington Zoo where it has been undergoing treatment.

After receiving a full health check, the bird was diagnosed with coccidiosis, a disease caused by a single-celled intestinal parasite, which is very common in young kiwi. This is thought to be the most likely cause of its rapid weight loss. The bird’s eye was also treated after it was discovered to be irritated by a foreign object – thought to be an insect leg.

“The kiwi looked great and was ready to go home” explained Wellington Zoo Veterinarian, Baukje Lenting.

“It currently weighs 525 grams – up from its arrival weight of 350 grams and it is eating well.” said Ms Lenting.

Zealandia Chief Executive, Hilary Beaton says she’s grateful to staff at Wellington Zoo for their care of the bird, as well as the member of the public who reported the sick kiwi.

“It’s great to have the public involved with our restoration project and acting as our eyes on the nature around the sanctuary” said Beaton.

“Wellington Zoo has excellent facilities and continues to be incredibly supportive when the rehabilitation of native species is required.”

The little spotted kiwi has been released into the predator-free sanctuary where it will have the best second chance at life. Members of the public can get involved with the Zealandia kiwi monitoring programme during their annual Kiwi Call Count in Autumn.

Kiwi are endemic to New Zealand and classified as “at risk, but recovering” by the Department of Conservation.
Little spotted kiwi were extinct on the mainland from 1875 and confined to offshore islands.
Little spotted kiwi were released at Zealandia in 2000. Zealandia is home to the mainland population in New Zealand.
The little spotted kiwi population in Zealandia is estimated to be between 100 - 120 birds.

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