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Crane delivers Auckland Zoo's first spring arrival

31 August 2006

Crane, not stork, delivers Auckland Zoo's first spring arrival

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Brolga chick and full grown brolga

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Auckland Zoo has been surprised with a pre-spring arrival. A brolga chick hatched on August 28, marking the Zoo's first 'spring' arrival for 2006 and signalling the start of a busy and exciting season at the Zoo.

Auckland Zoo Curator, John Rowden, is sure the yet-to-be-named brolga chick is the first spring arrival for the Zoo. "It's very exciting," says John. "Spring is my favourite time of the year at the Zoo. Springtime at the Zoo means a flurry of activity and new 'babies'. We also get to see the progress being made in our native breeding programmes - all really great stuff."

"We're really lucky to have these silver-grey cranes. They are native to Australia, yet we are the only Zoo in Australasia that has an active breeding pair," says John.

The brolgas are not the only birds preparing to hatch either. Auckland Zoo, in conjunction with the Bank of New Zealand and Department of Conservation, is preparing for several new kiwi chicks to hatch over the next few months.

The BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust's Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E.) programme has been running for 10 years and Auckland Zoo has released over 135 healthy kiwi chicks back into the wild.

Indications are that the 2006/2007 season is going to be just as busy for the North Island brown kiwi. There are currently 13 eggs in various stages of their 75-day incubation period, with more eggs expected to arrive at the Zoo during spring.

In the wild, predators kill over 95% of kiwi chicks within their first six months of life. However, rearing them in captive facilities like Auckland Zoo before re-introducing them to the wild dramatically increases their chances of survival.

ENDS

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