In Manunui, kiwi eggs are removed from the wild and artificially incubated and hatched at Kiwi Encounter in Rotorua. The chicks are raised in captivity until they weigh at least 1kg. This weight means they are better able to fend off the main kiwi chick predator – the stoat. After a health check and a period of quarantine the chicks come back to Manunui.
Research in neighbouring Waimarino Forest showed that chicks raised through the Operation Nest Egg have a 75 percent chance of surviving to adulthood and in areas where intensive predator control occurs this has increased to almost 90%. Chicks born in the wild have only a 5 percent chance of reaching adulthood.
Eggs are taken from the nest at around 60 days incubation. Chicks spend around four months at Kiwi Encounter before coming back to Manunui at 1000gm in weight.
The transporting of eggs and chicks between Ruapehu and Rotorua is a major cost for the Trust, and is one way that your donation will be used.