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Convalescing Kiwi Catches Train To Capital

Convalescing Kiwi Catches Train To Capital

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Department of Conservation captive breeding ranger Darren Page and Annetta Hunt with the kiwi they have been nursing back to health at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Photo: Amanda Cosgrove, DOC


A little spotted kiwi from Kapiti Island participating in the BNZ Save the Kiwi programme that has been convalescing at Pukaha Mount Bruce after succumbing to the toxic effects of karaka berries, was well enough to travel by train yesterday, for the next stage in his recovery – a stint in the protected wilderness of Karori Sanctuary.

The adult male kiwi was taken to Massey University for treatment in March when he was found close to death on the island after eating the berries of karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus). Karaka berries contain a toxin (karakin), which can cause weakness, hind leg paralysis and convulsions in kiwi.

In June, and weighing just 800 grams, he was moved to Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre where he was force-fed for nearly a month before being introduced to an artificial diet. By early July he was eating on his own and is now a healthy 1050 grams – fit enough to travel by train from the Wairarapa to Wellington yesterday for the next stage in his journey back to health.

He is now at the Karori Sanctuary where, because of some residual neurological deficiencies, he will be assessed as to his suitability to be released back into the wild.

Department of Conservation captive breeding ranger Darren Page said it had been “very satisfying” to be involved in nursing the kiwi back to health.

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Rosemary Vander Lee with kiwi after trip on the Kiwi Rail train. Photo: Courtesy of Karori Sanctuary


“It’s incredibly rewarding to see him take the next step on the road to recovery.”

BNZ Save the Kiwi works with Department of Conservation and community groups nationwide to support the recovery of kiwi. In the Wellington region, only Kapiti Island and Karori Sanctuary are home to the little spotted kiwi.


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