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Kiwi Encounter a win for tourism and environment

Kiwi Encounter a win for both tourism and the environment

Tourism Minister Mark Burton is today congratulating Rainbow Springs for their contribution towards saving our national icon-the kiwi.

As part of Operation Nest Egg, a Department of Conservation-run kiwi conservation and recovery programme, Rainbow Springs has opened Kiwi Encounter, a 45-minute guided tour of their kiwi facility. Admission fees are reinvested in the kiwi conservation programme.

Mark Burton says that the new attraction is a prime example of tourism's excellent working partnership with conservation.

"Rainbow Springs has been with Operation Nest Egg since 1995, already successfully hatching, raising, and releasing 174 kiwi chicks back into the wild.

"Over the past two years, egg numbers have greatly increased. Rainbow Springs has reinvested in Kiwi Encounter, a new facility open for public admission, providing the incubation equipment, brooders in the nursery, specialist husbandry staff and outdoor enclosures need to successfully raise increased numbers of kiwi.

"Guests now have the chance to both interact with New Zealand's diverse environments and to help save the kiwi-simply by visiting.

"Both international and domestic visitors will get an opportunity to learn more about the plight of the kiwi, and the outstanding work that is being done to save our national bird. I congratulate Rainbow Springs for this win-win outcome for both tourism and the environment," said Mark Burton.

Operation Nest Egg was established in 1994. DoC field teams lift kiwi eggs from natural burrows, and take them partially incubated to programme participants. Participants complete the 85-day incubation period artificially, raising the chicks to 1.2 kg in body size. DoC staff then return the chicks to the wild. Approximately 40 per cent of Operation Nest Egg chicks survive to adulthood, compared with five per cent of chicks hatched in the wild.

Other Operation Nest Egg participants include Auckland Zoo, Whangarei Bird Rescue Centre, Napier's Westshore Nocturnal House, and the Kiwi and Birdlife Park in Queenstown.


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