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1,000 kiwi chicks mark successful hatching season

News Release

Biggest, smallest and 1,000 kiwi chicks mark successful hatching season

Rotorua, May 4, 2012 – The 2011/12 kiwi hatching season is drawing to a close for the Kiwi Encounter team at Rotorua's Rainbow Springs, with highlights including welcoming the 1,000th kiwi chick, along with the smallest and biggest chicks ever hatched at the park.

"It's been yet another very rewarding season and the arrival of the 1,000 Kiwi, Mille, in September last year was a major milestone for not only the Kiwi Encounter team, but also the conservation of kiwis in general," says Claire Travers, Kiwi Encounter Kiwi Husbandry Manager.

The team also welcomed its smallest chick ever, McMurdo who weighed in at 238g and at the other end of the scales Megatron tipped the scales at a huge 419.2g. In comparison the average kiwi chick weighs 340g when it hatches.

All chicks are progressing well and Mille was released back to the wild in the Waimarino Forest near Ohakune in the North Island on 3 February this year.

McMurdo - who hatched in late February - is part of the Kiwi Encounter's captive breeding programme and will remain at the park.

"The chick had a bit of a slow start to life but is progressing well. McMurdo was incubated by his maternal grandfather after his father - Tika - showed no interest in participating in the 80 day care of the egg," Ms Travers says.

Megatron - aptly named after her weight - has been released to a Kiwi Creche in Opuahi and continues to build on her solid start to life.

A total of 133 kiwi chicks have hatched during the season. Two late eggs are still in incubation, which will bring the final total to 135. Last season 128 eggs hatched.

During the kiwi hatching season Kiwi Encounter also ran yet another successful candling course, a delicate operation which uses bright light to assess the stage of development the egg is at. The course also teaches techniques around safely handling and transporting kiwi eggs and is open to anyone who works with kiwi, either in the wild or a captive environment. The course is made possible by funding support from BNZ Save the Kiwi trust.

Rainbow Springs' involvement in kiwi conservation began in 1995 with the arrival of an orphaned egg and the hatchery has grown over the years to become the largest kiwi hatching facility in New Zealand, successfully incubating and hatching brown kiwi eggs from around the North Island.

Kiwi Encounter would like to acknowledge, as always, the ongoing support of BNZ Save the Kiwi trust. All Kiwi Chicks big and small need a “ kick start” in life and thanks to the BNZ and Kiwi Encounter chicks are able to get that.

Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park is an icon of New Zealand tourism and has been open since 1932. Spread over 22 acres of Rotorua parkland, Rainbow Springs is a conservation and breeding haven for endangered New Zealand species such as kiwi and tuatara. The park offers a unique wildlife experience for visitors, who can see animals in their natural environment, both during the day and night. Features of the award winning tourist attraction include New Zealand’s first ‘open to view’ Kiwi hatchery, and a range of wildlife including trout, tuatara and native birds.
ends

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