By Rebecca Fox
10:45 AM Friday Jun 7, 2013
A sighting of a Haast tokoeka kiwi chick at Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an important milestone for the recovery of the rare native bird, the Department of Conservation says.
|Photo: Michael Cunningham|
Kiwis from South Westland were first introduced to the ecosanctuary in November 2010 and 16 have had the run of the predator-proof enclosure since, although they have mostly remained in the upper part of the ecosanctuary.
Orokonui ranger Kelly Gough recently spotted the chick disappearing into bush near the ecosanctuary's perimeter fence. She had seen kiwi droppings in the vicinity and soon afterwards caught a glimpse of the rounded back of a small kiwi.
Doc biodiversity programme manager, in charge of kiwi recovery projects in Haast and Franz Josef, Jim Livingstone said breeding pairs at Orokonui would be a "big boost" to the genetic diversity of the population overall, which was vital for the ongoing health of the wild birds.
Only about 350 of the kiwis remain in the wild.
Ecosanctuary trust board chairman Neville Peat said the appearance of the young kiwi was a thrilling moment for Dunedin and Otago, a region that had not had kiwis in a wild or semi-wild situation for about 130 years.