Cute Kiwi chicks, known as “Ardie” and “Jacey”, passed their latest health checks at Napier’s Kiwi Creche with flying colours.
The kiwi pair, who are living in a special enclosure sponsored by Royal Wolf as part of its support of Save the Kiwi, will stay at the creche for around three months until they are released into the wild.
Royal Wolf Napier Branch Manager, Jeromy Lemon, and HSEQ Advisor, Shar Debney, visited the creche to meet Ardie and Jacey while they were getting their most recent checks done.
“It was great to see the incredible mahi the creche team does to help these beautiful little fluff balls have a better chance of living,” says Shar.
Each season the creche is home to around 60 kiwi chicks. The creche allows the kiwi to grow to a size where they can, if required, fight off a stoat in the wild. They arrive as small chicks, weighing around 300 grams, and leave three months later weighing between 1 and 1.2 kg.
Bev Wilkinson, Husbandry Manager at the creche, says kiwi chicks in the wild have a 5% chance of surviving with the biggest threat being stoats, ferrets, and dogs.
“By taking the eggs from the wild before they hatch, artificially incubating them at Kiwi hatcheries, and then rearing them in captivity as we do in the creche until they are one kilogram, the birds’ chances of survival increase to 75%.”
Napier Kiwi Creche is part of Operation Nest Egg which started in 1995 at a time when the Kiwi population was halving every 10 years. Today, 1,400 kiwi die nationally every year, which is a decline of around 2%.
Since Save the Kiwi started the Napier Kiwi Creche in 2020, 151 juvenile kiwi have been released back into the wild.
Bev says a major milestone for Save the Kiwi was helping to reclassify the status of the brown kiwi to “not threatened, conservation dependent”. “However, it’s still volatile and the Kiwi needs help which is why Royal Wolf’s sponsorship and support means so much.”
Jeromy says supporting the valuable work community groups and organisations like Save the Kiwi does gives the Royal Wolf team around the country a sense of pride.
“We have done work with Save the Kiwi in the past, which was an opportunity for us to use our expertise and provide container solutions to support them. So, it’s great to be on board in an official capacity to continue to back the important work they do to rebuild New Zealand’s kiwi population.”