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Wild kiwi's long road to recovery

Wild kiwi's long road to recovery

Rotorua, 12 September 2015: It's been a long road to recovery for injured kiwi Ruata, including many leg strengthening steps on a purpose-built treadmill.

Ruata's hock (lower leg joint) was dislocated in early June as the result of being caught in a trap in remote forest near Ruatahuna. DOC staff took the bird to the kiwi conservation team at Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Encounter where a vet operated and put the hock back in place.

After a couple of days recovering from his initial surgery and some close monitoring by the Kiwi Encounter team, the bird was flown to the Wildlife Centre at Massey University in Palmerston North for intensive rehabilitation.

Kiwi Encounter Kiwi Husbandry Manager Claire Travers says, "Ruata spent nearly 8 weeks at Massey where they stabilised the joint and worked on strengthening his leg on the treadmill, before returning to our ICU for a few weeks.

"The bird was then transferred to an outside pen for monitoring with night vision motion sensor cameras. We've been keeping a careful eye on his progress, watching how he moves and forages for food and we're confident that he can now survive back in the wild.

“It's been fantastic to see this bird rehabilitated and returned to the wild after such swift action by all involved. It's of vital importance that quick action is taken with injuries such as this and we're over the moon that, in this instance, everyone worked together so beautifully to see Ruata taken care of."

Yesterday morning Ruata underwent a thorough health check and is now in quarantine leading up to its release in about 3 weeks back to the wild.

Ruata may be moving on but Kiwi Encounter will soon be filled with new kiwi chick arrivals. The 2015/16 hatch season is poised to begin with 17 eggs in incubation and the first hatch due today.

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.


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