By Jacob Beleski
The Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre’s kiwi population received a boost after the acquisition of six kiwi eggs in the last two weeks.
Four eggs were received from the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust, while two more were retrieved from an adult kiwi in the Pukaha Reserve.
Laura Hutchinson, head of marketing and communications for the centre, said having the trust on board provided a significant boost.
“It’s been great – the nursery is flat out at the moment. It’s great to be working with the trust again, we haven’t worked with them for a while.”
There are around 68,000 kiwis left in New Zealand, but with an average of 20 unmanaged kiwis dying every week, numbers continue to dwindle.
The centre was keen to keep their kiwi numbers growing, she said.
“It’s hard to say how many we have here at the moment. At a guess I would say there are at least 60 kiwis out there, perhaps more.”
Two of the new eggs have externally pipped and were expected to hatch by the weekend, while others were also showing signs of life, she said.
“It looks like they will be hatching one after the other so it is an exciting time.”
Other species in the centre were also expected to gain an increase in numbers after a successful breeding period.
“The pateke already have eggs as well as the whio. It’s a busy time for us at the moment.”
The pair of whio in the centre’s free flight aviary have seven eggs, which were being incubated as part of the whio nest egg programme.
The centre has also increased their personnel to cope with the increase in activity. Jasmine Rabaud has extensive experience with avian husbandry as well as caring for ectotherms and would be a welcome addition to the team, Ms Hutchinson said.
“Jasmine has come onto our conservation breeding team. She is a specialist with gecko and tuatara so that will be great for us.”