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A conservation dream becomes reality

A conservation dream became reality today at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua with the opening of the innovative and unique new tourism attracti on, "Kiwi Encounter".

For the first time in New Zealand a tourism venture will enable visitors to see kiwi "conservation in action" and at the same time support a facility dedicated to increasing the numbers of kiwi chicks raised for release in the wild.

To add to the excitement, and with perfect timing, a tiny kiwi chick hatched from its egg in the new attraction.

As the doors open on Kiwi Encounter, two aspirations combine to bring a conservation success story into public view. One, a committed conservation ethos, and the other, commercial tourism.

You'll be inspired by the history of conservation success embodied in Kiwi Encounter.

Because of the significant achievement over successive years, with numbers released now in excess of 50 chicks a year, the management at Rainbow Springs have invested in a tourism attraction capable of producing even greater results for kiwi conservation.

"This facility will give us the capacity to incubate, nurture and raise an even larger number of birds. Through visiting Kiwi Encounter, New Zealanders and overseas visitors will assist the continuation of this valuable work", says General Manager, Mark Wypych.

Kiwi Encounter enables visitors to see up close "conservation in action" as never before. It is a special combination of natural history and wildlife conservation where you'll see for the first time in New Zealand the very real process of raising kiwi chicks from eggs, for ultimate release back into the wild. Visually emotive, a tour could, on any day, encounter all the drama usually found in a human neo-natal unit.

The tour of Kiwi Encounter with experienced staff will enable visitors to gain a comprehensive understanding of kiwi, and the threats to its environment and existence. Tour highlights include the husbandry areas and "runs" where the chicks are raised, the stunning new open-plan nocturnal house which is home to adult captive kiwi and culminates in the dynamic static display,.

"It has been a thrilling journey, to conceptualise and introduce this attraction into the tourism market. It could not have been achieved without the support and encouragement of our conservation partners, the Department of Conservation, BNZ Kiwi Recovery, the community trusts and conservancies who bring us wild kiwi eggs, and not least our dedicated team at Rainbow Springs". Says Mark.

Ends:

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