A rescued Far North kiwi chick has been successfully returned to his home thanks to the dedicated local BNZ Save the Kiwi and Whakaangi Landcare Trust team. The chick was found in March, underweight and frightened after narrowly escaping the clutches of a stoat that had slaughtered his sibling.
June Salt (left) and Wendy Sporle (right)
His rescuers, Whakaangi’s contracted kiwi practitioner, Lesley Baigent, and local trapper, Terry Higginson, came upon a dead kiwi chick in a nest, and then discovered his terrified sibling hiding a great distance away. The traumatised chick weighed a tiny 200 grams and was immediately rushed to a rehabilitation facility run by Whakaangi Landcare Trust member, Wendy Sporle (also BNZ Save the Kiwi National Mentor for Advocacy) where he was re-hydrated and treated.
Lesley Baigent, who had been checking freshly hatched kiwi chicks at the time of his discovery, says it’s been quite a long journey to independence for the feisty little chick.
Wendy says Hoheria, (he was named after the tree he was discovered under) needed to be taught to feed on an artificial diet which would complement the worms in the refuge pens.
“He was a cautious and flighty chick, but finally he learned to feed and over a 5 month period he grew to 1050gms,” Wendy says.
Hoheria, the rescued kiwi
“Having reached that weight, we decided he could be released back within the Whakaangi Landcare Trust area, as he was probably safe from predation from stoats”.
And so Hoheria was ready to go home, with one small detour. The brave little kiwi made a guest appearance at Kaingaroa School where the delighted children, who are studying kiwi, got the chance to wish him well.
Wendy says that this was a lucky chick surviving to this stage.
“There has been a huge investment in time to bring him through. He is still very vulnerable from dog attack, as dogs are the main killers of adult or juvenile kiwi. But within the Whakaangi project area, dogs are excluded so he should grow and ultimately breed in a couple of year’s time.”
Wendy says, “We have treatment facilities in the Far North and it’s important any injured or sick kiwi are promptly handed into the Department of Conservation or local vets for treatment and ultimate release”.
And one last point that Wendy and the rest of the kiwi team want to add:
“Please keep a close eye on your dogs. Keep them tied up, and if you hunt, take your dogs to one of our free kiwi aversion training days. It’s only a small effort, but it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death for our kiwi,” urges Wendy.
Kiwi/bird aversion training