Kiwi Express Couriers
Kiwi Couriers

Save the Kiwi

Kiwi Express is proud to support Save the Kiwi Trust. We are doing this by donating to Operation Nest Egg. Below are some details about this project.

In 1997, kiwi numbers were estimated at just 78,000. Today, that has dropped further to around 70,000.

Each kiwi species faces different issues and has different management needs, but controlling predators is vital for all of them. In mid-2008, predator control was under way on about 120,000 hectares – half is managed through community-led projects, and half is on land managed by the Department of Conservation.

In unmanaged areas, kiwi populations continue to drop by up to 5% each year.

Research has helped answer many of the most basic questions about kiwi, and many techniques and tools are now available. But we need more to secure the species' future. That's why BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust actively supports community efforts and the five kiwi sanctuaries, and encourages corporate sponsorships.

Kiwi eggs and chicks are removed from the wild and hatched and/or raised in captivity until big enough to fend for themselves – usually when they weigh around 1200 grams. They are then returned to the wild.

An Operation Nest Egg™ bird has a 65% chance of surviving to adulthood – compared to just 5% for wild-hatched and raised chicks.

The tool is used on all kiwi species except little spotted kiwi.

The beginning

The idea for this tool was hatched in 1994 when researchers noticed that almost all kiwi chicks were killed by stoats, but adult kiwi were not.

With funding from BNZ, a pilot was run that adapted techniques 'operation nest egg' technique specifically to kiwi.

The skills for collecting, transporting and incubating kiwi eggs, then keeping young chicks alive in captivity, were honed on brown kiwi. With only 5% of wild-hatched chicks surviving to adulthood, there was nothing much to lose.

It worked - Operation Nest Egg has been incredibly good for quickly growing kiwi populations near the brink of extinction, such as the critically endangered rowi and Haast tokoeka. It has also been very effective in helping establish new populations.

Since 1995, the tool has been used every breeding season, largely in the most vulnerable kiwi populations, buying researchers the time to find solutions to the problems facing kiwi. The aim is to develop long-term cost-effective and sustainable ways to keep large areas of forest free of predators.

Operation Nest Egg's use decreases as each kiwi population grows, and kiwi researchers expect there may come a time when it will no longer be needed as a management tool, although its power as an advocacy tool - giving people an opportunity to get close to kiwi - will remain immensely valuable.