Auckland Zoo's first Kiwi chick has successfully pipped its way through the shell of its egg, officially kicking off this year's Kiwi breeding season. The parents of this yet-to-be-named chick are Two-Toes (Dad) and Binky (Mum) from a private farm in Tanekaha. Tanekaha Community Group is a collection of 20 farms that have been funded by Northland Regional Council to make their farms a safe haven for breeding kiwis.
From now until March next year, Auckland Zoo's bird team will be working hard incubating, hatching, rearing and releasing Kiwi chicks as part of the BNZ Operation Nest Egg program. The program was started to help increase the survival of Kiwi chicks from wild nests, which are heavily preyed upon by stoats. To date, Auckland Zoo has released 266 kiwi chicks into the wild.
Photo credits: Aukland Zoo
Zookeeper Michelle Whybrow filmed the hatching of their second Kiwi chick of the season, also from a Tanekaha farm:
About the size of domestic chickens, Kiwis are flightless birds related to ostriches and emus. These shy, nocturnal birds are found only in New Zealand. All five species of Kiwi are decreasing in number, threatened by loss of habitat and by mammalian predators introduced by humans. To learn more about the recovery effort coordinated by the BNZ Operation Nest Egg Program, click here.