Air New Zealand has celebrated Conservation Week by flying six North Island brown kiwi eggs to a safe new home for hatching.
The kiwi eggs were removed from nests in the Rimutaka Forest Park near Wellington by volunteer handlers from the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust before being flown in warmed insulated containers on an Air New Zealand passenger flight from Wellington to Rotorua where they were taken to Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park and placed in an incubator.
The eggs are expected to hatch within the next week to ten days and will be moved to a predator-free environment at Wairakei Golf Course and Sanctuary north of Taupo at around four weeks old. The North Island brown kiwi will remain there for at least six months until they reach a safe weight to be flown back to Wellington and released into the Rimutaka Forest Park.
Air New Zealand Manager Sponsorship and Communities Meghan Blair says it’s great to be involved in helping the Rimutaka Forest Trust during Conservation Week to get the eggs to their new home safely to ensure the North Island brown kiwi population continues to thrive.
“We take immense pride in providing flights for our endangered species such as takahe, kakapo and tuatara and getting them to their destinations safely and naturally these kiwi eggs are some of our most precious cargo.”
Rimutaka Forest Park Trust Kiwi Project Co-ordinator Melody Mclaughlin says the help from Air New Zealand provides another opportunity to further build on the 80-100 birds already in the Rimutakas by protecting the vulnerable eggs and chicks.
“As a community based organisation without the generous support of organisations such as Air New Zealand and Kiwis for kiwi the establishment of a wild kiwi population so close to Wellington would be that much harder. All the volunteers who make this possible are very much looking forward to returning these babies to the park once they reach a stoat proof weight.”
Conservation Week runs from 10-18 September.