News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Operation Nest Egg Adult Kiwi Killed By Ferret

The first Operation Nest Egg-raised kiwi to be sitting on an egg has been killed by a ferret, the Department of Conservation announced today.

Kiwi Recovery Programme co-ordinator Dr Hugh Robertson said the loss was tragic.

“This kiwi, Gregory, was the first Operation Nest Egg kiwi to have successfully reached this stage in breeding. While the loss of any adult kiwi sitting on an egg is tragic, this loss is doubly so. We were very excited about the prospect of this kiwi raising a chick – it was only one month away from hatching.”

Gregory, a three-year-old male kiwi, was discovered dead in a Northland bush reserve with puncture wounds matching a ferret’s teeth. The egg from Gregory’s nest was missing, presumably eaten by the ferret as well. A female Operation Nest Egg kiwi, Sarkaia, was discovered nearby. The cause of its death could not be established as it was decomposed, although it was likely to have also been killed by a ferret.

Dr Robertson said six adult kiwi, including Sarkaia’s father, were killed by a ferret in 1996 before it was caught.

“Operation Nest Egg, a key part of the Bank of New Zealand-sponsored Kiwi Recovery Programme, takes eggs or young chicks from the wild and raises them in captivity so they can be released again once they’re large enough to fend for themselves from attacks by wild cats and stoats. However, it is very difficult to protect kiwi, even full-grown kiwi, from attacks by dogs and ferrets, except through public education about the threats these animals pose to kiwi.”

Bank of New Zealand’s Head of Corporate Marketing, Kieron Goodwin, said while the statistics on kiwi survival showed that only 5% of kiwi chicks survived to six months of age, Operation Nest Egg raised the survival rate to about 80%.

“This death demonstrates that kiwi continue to need all the help they can get. Although it is an uphill battle to save the kiwi, one positive we can take from this tragedy is that we have learnt that an Operation Nest Egg-raised kiwi can pair up with a wild bird and attempt to raise a chick.”

Kevin Smith, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Director, said this tragic event highlighted the threat that ferrets pose to our national icon, which was already in big trouble.

“These killing machines are destroying our wildlife up and down the country.”

He urged people to make a submission on DOC's public discussion document What can we do about ferrets? before the deadline of 31 December.

The Kiwi Recovery Programme is a Threatened Species Trust partnership involving Bank of New Zealand, Forest and Bird, and the Department of Conservation.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Joseph Cederwall Review: NZSO Plays Zappa

The first of the NZSO’s Shed Series concerts at the more informal and intimate space of Wellington's Shed 6 last Friday night featured music composed by, or with a connection to Frank Zappa. Zappa, a psychedelic rock legend, activist and popular culture figure and all round colourful character, was an excellent choice for the concert’s theme of innovation. More>>

Let The Games Begin: PM Sends Best Wishes To Athletes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has sent her warm wishes to the New Zealand athletes preparing for the opening of the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast... More>>


Scoop Review of Books: Martin Edmonds' The Expatriates

This book is an extension of, and tribute to, the life’s work of James McNeish. Without sacrificing any degree of authorial independence, the result is gracefully written, handsomely produced, and likely to propagate many further works of its kind. More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. More>>

Joe Cederwall Review: WOMAD 2018 - Harmony of Difference (part 1)

A friend described WOMAD as his “favourite white middle class celebration of diversity.” There is certainly an echo of truth to this as the crowd is still largely white and middle class, but this WOMAD for me represented that a better world is possible ... More>>

Harmony of Difference (part 2)

Top international world music artists seldom make it down to this neck of the woods, so for those of us into this sort of thing WOMAD is certainly a welcome addition to the cultural calendar. Now it is a case of waiting and looking forward to seeing what they manage to conjure up for next year. More>>

Howard Davis Review: A Bigger Splash - Te Papa Celebrates Twenty Years

Considering the available resources, this is a decidedly hit-and-miss affair, mainly due to some highly questionable curatorial decisions. In their overweening wish to "push boundaries," Charlotte Davy and Megan Tamati-Quennell have made a number of serious miscalculations by ignoring a basic rule - keep it simple. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland