Kiwi eggs wait­ing to hatch

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

Pu¯ kaha re­cently wel­comed the 102nd kiwi chick to be hatched at the wildlife cen­tre.

Pu¯ kaha rangers and vol­un­teers have col­lected four kiwi eggs from the Pu¯ kaha for­est so far this sea­son and have be­gun the very del­i­cate and spe­cialised in­cu­ba­tion process in the kiwi house nurs­ery.

The rangers will care­fully turn the re­main­ing three eggs four times a day while main­tain­ing the tem­per­a­ture at 35.5 de­grees Cel­sius un­til they hatch.

Pu¯ kaha, National Wildlife Cen­tre is part of a National Kiwi Re­cov­ery pro­gramme Op­er­a­tion Nest Egg which in­volves up­lift­ing kiwi eggs from the wild to im­prove their chances of sur­vival against preda­tors such as fer­rets, stoats and rats.

They are in­cu­bated, hatched in the nurs­ery and hand raised to a weight of ap­prox­i­mately 1.2kg — — fight­ing weight, be­fore be­ing re­leased back into the re­serve.

Vis­i­tors to Pu¯ kaha can ex­pect to see the new kiwi chick hatch­ling over the com­ing two weeks once head kiwi ranger Jess Flamy de­cides it is ready to start its in­tro­duc­tion to the cap­tive kiwi diet. Once they start on this feed­ing regime the pub­lic can watch the feed daily at the 12pm kiwi talk.

The Pu¯ kaha rangers will con­tinue feed­ing the kiwi chick un­til they are con­fi­dent the chick has ac­cepted the diet and is eat­ing it on its own. Chicks are trans­ferred to the “kiwi creche” out­door en­clo­sures at Pu¯ kaha where they stay un­til their re­lease.

“We are all pretty ex­cited when the eggs start hatch­ing,” Gen­eral Man­ager Emily Court says. “The team is ready to gather up vis­i­tors in the re­serve should an egg start hatch­ing dur­ing open­ing hours. It is an ex­tra­or­di­nary thing to wit­ness”.

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