New little kiwi an extra lucky one

By Ilona Hanne

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EMPTY EGG: Muzi Fang (4) takes a close look at the kiwi chick's egg.
EMPTY EGG: Muzi Fang (4) takes a close look at the kiwi chick's egg.

Just in time for the start of Chinese New Year celebrations, Kiwi Encounter's 88th kiwi chick for the season has hatched, and coincidentally the chick's dad's name is Bruce Lee.

Eight is a lucky number in Chinese symbolising wealth, fortune and prosperity with 88 deemed even luckier, resembling double happiness.

Chinese New Year celebrations started yesterday with the New Year officially beginning on January 28th when it becomes the Year of the Rooster.

The 357gm, yet unnamed kiwi chick is from the Rotokare Scenic Reserve, managed by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust, which works throughout the Taranaki region to protect the Western North Island brown kiwi.

Rainbow Springs' Kiwi Husbandry Assistant Manager Emma Bean says it was a relatively speedy hatch.

"It took four days to complete the whole hatch process but once the chick started the active hatch part, it was out within a few minutes in front of Friday's 10am tour group! Perfect timing.

"The chick was particularly vocal through the hatching process and is still chatty."

The chick's father Bruce Lee is aptly named as he's particularly 'kicky' and uses his big strong legs to defend himself. Another one of his chicks hatched on New Year's Eve and last week moved out of the brooder room into an outdoor enclosure where he/she will remain until it's a stoat-proof 1kg and can be released back into the wild.

The 2016/17 hatch season is in full swing, with another egg due to hatch anytime, and with more than 20 more eggs in the incubator and more eggs due to head in over the next few weeks, it's shaping up to be a bumper year. During the 2015/16 season Kiwi Encounter hatched 102 and the biggest year of hatches totalled 138.

Rainbow Springs' involvement in kiwi conservation began in 1995 with the arrival of an orphaned egg.

The Kiwi Encounter hatchery has grown over the years to become the largest kiwi hatching facility in New Zealand, successfully incubating and hatching brown kiwi eggs from around the North Island.

The team raises the chicks to 1kg before releasing them back into the wild to increase their chances of survival.

- Stratford Press

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