Rare kiwi footage captured

Cadre from Tongariro has reached her stoat-proof weight and is now living in a predator-controlled area in Tongariro Forest. Supplied photo and video.

Click the image above to watch the video

Rare footage of two kiwi chicks hatching has been caught on camera at Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua.

The unique time-lapse shows two chicks as they break free from their eggs and is the first of its kind for the largest kiwi hatchery in the country.

Husbandry Manager, Emma Bean, says the facility wanted to capture the beauty and wonder of a kiwi chick hatching, in a new and high-quality format.

This time-lapse footage takes high quality photos at one second intervals throughout the active section of the six-day hatch, so that the egg and chick remain in focus while capturing the motion.

“The camera was carefully set up so that we were able to capture this rarely witnessed event while keeping the egg warm and safe in the incubator,” says Emma.

“After 11 years working with kiwi, it’s even blown me away. This is the first time I’ve been able to see a hatch in this much detail.

“We hope this unique footage will help fellow Kiwis get a greater understanding of how special kiwi chicks are, and how important it is to protect our native wildlife.”

One of the chicks in the footage, Winton, is from Maungataniwha in Hawkes Bay. She is staying with the Encounter until she reaches her ‘stoat-proof’ weight of 1kg and will then be released back to Maungataniwha.

Winton, is from Maungataniwha in Hawkes Bay.

The other, Cadre, from Tongariro has reached her stoat-proof weight and is now living in a predator-controlled area in Tongariro Forest – where she will find a mate and reproduce.

“The chicks are released back into the wild once they’ve grown to a stoat-proof 1kg so they have the weight behind them to defend themselves,” says Emma.

“This increases their survival rates from just 5% to 65%.”

The footage has been released ahead of Saturday’s World Wildlife Day, which Emma hopes will be a reminder of the importance of kiwi conservation work.

“There are about 68,000 kiwi left in all of New Zealand and we are losing 2% of our unmanaged kiwi every year.

“The good news is that kiwi numbers are growing in areas where work is being done to manage their habitats.

“It’s our goal is to ultimately change the kiwi story so that the population is increasing by 2%.”

To date Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter has hatched more than 1750 chicks. They aim to eventually double the number of hatches each season.

People can experience kiwi conservation first-hand at Rainbow Springs’ Kiwi Encounter.

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