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Orana-bred kiwi to be released to the wild

Orana-bred kiwi to be released to the wild

Two young Brown kiwi bred at Orana Wildlife Park last breeding season, will be transferred to the wild in the Tongaririo Forest tomorrow morning. Spot (male) and Nui (female) aged 9 and 10 months respectively are two of nine kiwi from Orana being released to the wild this year as part of the captive component of the Kiwi Recovery Programme. The kiwi will fly to Palmerston North and then be released by Department of Conservation staff.

Alyssa Salton, Head Keeper of Native Fauna, says: “This is one of the best parts of our job, seeing birds we have raised being released to the wild, it is very gratifying. Spot and Nui both hatched at Orana and have been fantastic kiwi to monitor. It is a real privilege to directly contribute to the preservation of our national icon and to have the ability to educate Park visitors on the threats to these wonderful birds.”

Three more kiwi from Orana are due to be released to the wild later this year. Once the transfers are complete, three young breeding pairs of Brown kiwi (Eastern provenance) will remain at the Park along with two juvenile birds in the Nocturnal Display House who will pair up in future when they mature.

“Whilst farewelling Spot and Nui, we have recently welcomed our first kiwi chick of the season – it hatched on the 17th of September. One more egg is due to hatch in the incubator shortly so we are delighted with the progress of our pairs so far this season”.

Orana Wildlife Park is involved in the captive component of the Recovery Programme for kiwi. Chicks produced may be transferred to other captive institutions, remain at Orana or be released to the wild, depending on the requirements of the managed programme. One key role is conservation advocacy, educating visitors on the plight of these unique birds. “The main message we convey to people is to keep their dogs on a leash when near wild kiwi areas” concludes Alyssa.


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