The hatching season for the world’s rarest kiwi is off to a very encouraging start in Franz Josef today with the arrival of the 1st kiwi chick of the breeding season at 6pm.
Weighing in at just 387.2g the egg came into the West Coast Wildlife Centre less than 7 days ago .
Te Rūnaka o Makaawhio have named the first rowi of 2020 …….. Te Haumaru which literally meaning safety to acknowledge the safe arrival of the first 2020 rowi chick.
The Department of Conservation actively manages the population, running landscape scale predator control operations to reduce predators and retrieving eggs laid in the wild for safe hatching at captive facilities.
Stoats are the main predator of kiwi in the wild with only five percent of chicks surviving without some form of protection.
Operation Nest Egg (ONE) has been an important technique for helping to save the rowi population . In the early 2000’s numbers of rowi were dwindling to tiny numbers, with only an estimated 160 birds left in South Okarito Forest. Now that the population has grown and stabilised, the technique is used to ensure the genetic diversity of the rowi population is retained. This technique sees eggs from nesting birds with important genetics removed to the West Coast Wildlife Centre where they are hatched safely in captivity.
Since first opening in late 2010 the West Coast Wildlife Centre has safely hatched over 320 rowi kiwi chicks and 122 Haast tokoeka which have all been released back into the wild through the Department of Conservation.