100th kiwi chick for Whirinaki
Late February saw the release of the 100th kiwi chick back into Whirinaki Forest Park.
Since the inception in of the Whirinaki Kiwi Project in 1999, kiwi in the area have gone from strength to strength. It was estimated that the population at that time was 300 birds, so 100 extra juveniles is good news for the population. The success of the Project would not be possible without the ongoing financial support of BNZ Save the Kiwi through BNZ Operation Nest Egg™.
BNZ Operation Nest Egg™ is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of key kiwi populations. Eggs and chicks are lifted from nests to save them from stoats, and cats. The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weight about 1kg, big enough to fight off these predators.
Current Department of Conservation Protected Species Ranger, Sarah King is proud of the results to date of the Whirinaki Kiwi Project. “Without any intervention, research suggests that only 5% of eggs make it to an adult bird. Our success rate is well over the 65% average for BNZ Operation Nest Egg programme.
“This milestone couldn't have been achieved without the support we've had over the years from Ngati Whare, BNZ Save the Kiwi and many other dedicated people who work in the kiwi world such as those at Kiwi Encounter and the kiwi workers that do all the hard work out in the forests of Whirinaki” said Ms King.
This milestone was marked with a special pöwhiri and celebration for the three chicks which were released back into Whirinaki on 23 February. Schools and the community from around the greater Te Whaiti – Murupara area attended to wish the chicks well. This occasion was also marked with a schools art competition and a special cutting of the cake ceremony!
The winning artworks can be viewed at the BNZ Rotorua Pukeroa branch until the end of March.
A kiwi’s cry can carry several kilometres. Once kiwi have established their territories, border disputes are usually settled by calls to mark the boundaries, rather than fights.