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Kiwi Encounter Hatches Milestone 500th Kiwi

26 OCTOBER 2007

Kiwi Encounter Hatches Milestone 500th Kiwi

Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua is today celebrating the safe arrival of the 500th Kiwi hatched there since they commenced participation in the kiwi recovery programme in 1995/6.

“Rimarau” (500 in Maori) hatched at 4.22pm today weighing a healthy 344.9 grams. The Kiwi Encounter kiwi husbandry team, customer service staff and some very lucky visitors from Germany and England were on hand to watch Rimarau’s entry into the world and commented on how well the kiwi adapted to the additional attention it was receiving. “The team here at Kiwi Encounter has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 500th chick with countdown badges being worn since there were 24 to go at the beginning of the season, generating a lot of public interest in the hatch,” commented Kiwi Husbandry Manager, Claire Travers.

This special kiwi hails from Taranaki and will be re-released back into the wild when it reaches its goal weight of approximately one kilogram in weight. It is not yet known whether the kiwi is male or female as its feathers need to be sent away for DNA testing to determine its gender.

Kiwi Encounter staff are delighted to reach this important milestone of 500 kiwi hatches, as they dedicate their lives to saving our national icon and every kiwi hatched in captivity means a greater chance of survival when it’s released back into the wild. “The average survival rate for a kiwi hatched in the wild is only about 6%, whereas it’s around 65-70% through the kiwi recovery programme,” explains Travers. “Every kiwi we release back into the wild helps improve the chances of us being able to slow the decline of the kiwi population which is under immense threat from loss of habitat and predators.” Last season Kiwi Encounter released 116 kiwi chicks back into the wild of the 162 released nationwide.

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Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs Nature Park in Rotorua is unlike any other "attraction" you may have visited. It is a unique conservation centre which gives visitors the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at kiwi "conservation in action" for the first time in New Zealand. For those who want to support the National Kiwi Trust at Kiwi Encounter, sponsorship options start at $NZ50. The National Kiwi Trust is supported by major sponsors Intercity Group, More FM and Environment Bay of Plenty.


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