Kiwi hatchery celebrates record number of chicks

The little kiwi known as Mt.Plm.13 . Supplied photo.

A little kiwi known as Mt.Plm.13 is the 150th chick to hatch this season, making this the most successful hatching season on record for the National Kiwi Hatchery.

Incredibly, Mt.Plm.13 was followed by another three hatchlings, taking the official number to a 153 kiwi this season, 17 kiwi more than the previous record.

Normally kiwi lay two clutches per year but due to a wet summer and high feed availability, several pairs including the parents of Mt.Plm.13, produced three clutches.

National Kiwi Hatchery manager Emma Bean says Mt.Plm.13 is making great progress and once at hatch weight will be moved into an outdoor enclosure before it is released back into Maungataniwha Forest.

'Mt.Plm.13 is a true representation of the successful season we have had at the National Kiwi Hatchery and the little kiwi should be fit to face the wild in just a matter of months.”

The National Kiwi Hatchery has had a 96% success hatch rate this season and their protocol of holding all chicks until they are 1kg has seen them achieve a 65% survival rate once released.

Mt.Plm.13 came from the successful kiwi conservation initiative known as the Forest Life Force Restoration Trust and is the 13th egg that has been incubated by his father Plummet since he became involved in the Operation Nest Egg Programme.

Established in 1995, the Operation Nest Egg (O.N.E.) program is a nationwide kiwi recovery tool on a mission to save the kiwi, one egg at a time.

The programme has successfully built the population of kiwi nationwide by hatching more kiwi chicks like Mt.Plm.13 and raising them in safe, predator-free creche sites such as the National Kiwi Hatchery, while they grow to a stoat-proof weight of 1kg before being released back into predator-controlled areas.

As a part of the programme, these chicks are then set up to become breeders themselves and be a part of the restoration of their former range of distribution.

The National Kiwi Hatchery will be moving to their new location at Agrodome later this year, in the meantime it is open 8.30 am to 2pm seven days a week at 192 Fairy Springs Road, Rotorua.

Tours run every hour on the hour starting from 9am with the last tour of the day at 1pm.


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