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Arrival of First Chick Marks Start of Kiwi Hatching Season

Arrival of First Chick Marks the Start of Kiwi Hatching Season

9 September 2013 - The 2013/14 kiwi hatching season has kicked off again for the Kiwi Encounter team at Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs with the arrival of a tiny chick.

The chick only weighs 298g - an average chick weighs 340g - but it's doing well. The precious egg arrived at Rainbow Springs in June from a trust in eastern Taranaki and was unusual in that it was a very early egg. Staff were surprised to find it while doing routine checks on kiwi in the area.

The early arrival is the first Operation Nest Egg to hatch from the Eastern Taranaki Environment Trust (ETET) www.etet.org.nz

The new arrival will shortly be joined by two more chicks from Maungataniwha (Napier). The eggs were delivered to Rainbow Springs last week and are now being incubated.

They are expected to hatch within the next 5-15 days in time for the school holidays and after a big spring clean in preparation for the new season, the kiwi chicks will be welcomed by revamped feeding boxes and a spotless intensive care unit.

Rainbow Springs plays a crucial role in kiwi conservation and breeding as New Zealand’s largest and most successful kiwi hatching centre. Rainbow Springs has hatched and nurtured more than 1,200 eggs since 1995 when it first became involved in the ‘Save the Kiwi’ recovery programme.

The Kiwi Encounter team are passionate about seeing these birds become more established in the wild. Claire Travers, Kiwi Encounter Husbandry Manager says, “We always get excited when hatching season begins. The most rewarding part of the job is seeing the public come face to face with these special birds and realise that they can play a part in ensuring their survival.”

Last season the team managed to successfully hatch 118 eggs, 114 from the wild and 4 captive ones. This season Claire hopes to see even more birds hatched.

“Our Kiwi Encounter team have had a good break and are all ready for the new arrivals. We can’t wait to share another season with the public and then see these kiwi released into the wild boosting our precious wild kiwi numbers.”

The wild kiwis hatched this season will be released back into the wild once they reach about 1kg in weight. The National Kiwi Trust aims “to maintain and where possible enhance the current abundance, distribution and genetic diversity of kiwi.”

Rainbow Springs is an icon of NZ tourism, and has been open since 1932. Spread over 22 acres of Rotorua Parkland, Rainbow Springs is a conservation and breeding haven for endangered species like the Kiwi and tuatara. Features of the award winning tourist attraction include New Zealand’s only “open to view” Kiwi hatchery, and a range of wildlife including trout, tuatara and native birds.


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