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Wellington Zoo Caring For Critically Endangered Rowi

Wellington Zoo Caring For Critically Endangered Rowi – the Rarest Kiwi

Wellington Zoo has taken two Rowi into its care that have been brought in by the Department of Conservation, to be treated by the veterinary team at The Nest Te Kōhanga.

With only approximately 350 birds left in the wild, Rowi – also known as the Ōkārito Kiwi – are the rarest of New Zealand’s five species of kiwi. The only remaining natural population is found in Ōkārito Kiwi Zone – 11,000 hectares of protected forest northwest of Franz Josef/Waiau village in South Westland.

“One Rowi was found tangled in some vines and is being treated for related injuries. He’s quite critically ill, but his condition is currently stable and looks to be improving,” said Dr Lisa Argilla, Veterinary Science Manager.

Another bird is suffering from dermatitis around its vent.

“While the infection is not life-threatening as far as we can tell, we’re currently trying to determine the cause as it has spread to 15 other young Rowi on the crèche island. The crèche is a group of young Rowi kept on the predator-free Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound until they are mature enough to be released back into their natural habitat on the mainland.”

“These birds are critically endangered so it’s very special to be able to care for them at The Nest Te Kōhanga. Hopefully by sharing their plight with the community, we will inspire passion and action in our visitors to get involved in kiwi conservation.”

About Wellington Zoo

Conservation is at the heart of everything we do at Wellington Zoo. We take every opportunity to connect our visitors with nature and encourage them to take their own positive action for the environment. 

Wellington Zoo is New Zealand's first Zoo, established in 1906, and is Wellington’s oldest conservation organisation. Home to over 500 native and exotic animals, Wellington Zoo became a charitable trust in 2003.

Wellington Zoo became the world’s first carboNZero certified zoo in May 2013. We were named the ‘Best and Most Fascinating Zoo in the World’ by travel website and won the prestigious Vibrant Gold Award at the June 2013 Wellington Gold Awards.

Wellington Zoo is an accredited member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association Australasia.

About the Rowi Kiwi

Visit the Department of Conservation’s online resource to learn more about Rowi, and how you can help.


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