Early arrival boosts kiwi numbers

NEW ADDITION: A new arrival boosts Orana Wildlife Park's kiwi breeding programme.
NEW ADDITION: A new arrival boosts Orana Wildlife Park's kiwi breeding programme.

Orana Wildlife Park's kiwi breeding programme has added a new fluffy youngster to its brood.

The eight-day-old kiwi had been malpositioned in its egg, forcing park staff to drill a hole through the shell to allow the chick to breathe.

Keepers also had to put strategic cracks in the shell to help the chick pop out.

Native fauna head keeper Alyssa Salton said the chick's arrival early in the kiwi breeding season was a positive sign for the rest of the year. All three of Orana Park's kiwi breeding pairs had produced eggs already, although two were infertile.

The new chick had been moved to a brooder and was not on public display yet, but was progressing well, Salton said.

"Kiwi chicks are one of the cutest baby birds and this fluffy youngster is a really cool wee animal," she said.

"It is a real privilege to be working with these animals."

The Press