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Meet our national icon at Auckland Zoo

Meet our national icon at Auckland Zoo

A new behind-the-scenes kiwi experience is offering people the opportunity to get up close to kiwi chicks that have hatched at Auckland Zoo as part of the kiwi recovery programme, Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E.).

This experience, which is the only opportunity to meet a kiwi in Auckland, will run from approximately September to December each year, coinciding with kiwi hatching season.

Auckland Zoo’s first three O.N.E. chicks of the season have recently hatched, the oldest at eight days old and the other two at just four days, and will soon join the 279 other kiwi chicks successfully released from the Zoo.

Birds team leader Todd Jenkinson says combining Auckland Zoo’s role in the O.N.E. programme with its reach as New Zealand’s most-visited zoo to deliver the behind-the-scenes kiwi experience is a great development to the conservation advocacy efforts for kiwi.

“Meeting a kiwi is a life-changing experience and being New Zealand’s national icon, one that all New Zealanders should care about. The more people we get to connect with these little chicks, the more chance we have building a secure future for them.”

O.N.E. involves taking kiwi eggs from the wild and hatching them in captivity, before reintroducing the bird into its original habitat. When about four weeks old, chicks are sent to a safe crèche – either a predator-free island or mainland sanctuary – until they reach around one kilogram. Only then are they returned to their wild home; big enough to fend off most predators.

Auckland Zoo’s Kiwi Experience is available Monday, Tuesday Thursday and Saturday, with a minimum age requirement of just six years. For more information, visit www.aucklandzoo.co.nz .


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