Zoo's 300th ONE kiwi released on Rotoroa
9th October 2015
A noisy little kiwi named
Tīhoihoi (meaning Maori for raucous) is
today settling in to life on Rotoroa Island, becoming the 300th
kiwi chick that Auckland Zoo has successfully incubated, hatched,
reared and released to the wild.
The four-week-old male is the first Coromandel North Island
brown of season and the 13th kiwi to be released onto
the 83ha pest-free isle, which first began welcoming this rarest of
brown kiwi a year ago.
A further 287 Northland brown kiwi chicks have been released
since 1996. Some chicks have been released directly onto the
mainland in the Whangarei Kiwi Sanctuary, but the majority have
started life on kiwi crèche, Motuora Island. As adults, these birds
have gone on to help re-establish kiwi populations in Whangarei
Kiwi Sanctuary, Tawharanui, the Brynderwyns and Mataia
"Conservation efforts are always about team work, and when 95%
of kiwi chicks die before they reach breeding age in areas without
predator control, team work is vital," says Auckland Zoo field
conservation manager, Ian Fraser.
Auckland Zoo has been involved in Operation Nest Egg since the
technique was first being developed by Department of Conservation
(DOC) scientists, funded by the Kiwis for Kiwi (previously) BNZ
Save the Kiwi Trust.
"It's great that through the careful harvest and delivery of
eggs by DOC staff and skilled volunteers, combined with the
knowledge and dedication of the Zoo's keepers, we can achieve a 94%
success rate from fertile egg to release," says Mr Fraser. "In
protected areas, an Operation Nest Egg kiwi has a 65% chance of
reaching adulthood, compared to a 5% survival for chicks toughing
it out in unprotected wild areas."
Mr Fraser says the more recent initiative between the Zoo, its
partners Rotoroa Island Trust (RIT) and Thames Coast Kiwi Care
(TCKC) to give Coromandel North Island brown kiwi a head start on
Rotoroa, is strongly focused on advocacy for our national bird.
"While we'll help contribute to growing the Coromandel
kiwi population, having kiwi on Rotoroa is primarily about raising
awareness about kiwi, demonstrating the value of intensive
conservation management and inspiring future generations of New
Zealanders to care about kiwi and get involved in helping
More kiwi will be released onto Rotoroa over the coming
months, and in March/April 2016, a kiwi muster will see a round-up
of the kiwi that were first released on the island in late
2014/early 2015. These sub-adult birds will be returned to the
2,500ha protected area on the Thames Coast cared for by
"As expected, these nocturnal birds aren't showing
themselves a lot, but we're delighted that both Zoo and Rotoroa
staff are seeing evidence that kiwi are doing well in the Rotoroa
environment, says RIT chairman Barrie Brown.