Local pupils crowd in to protect kiwi

By Alison King

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Hundreds of school children helped celebrate Save Kiwi Week at Rainbow Springs yesterday. Photo / Stephen Parker
Hundreds of school children helped celebrate Save Kiwi Week at Rainbow Springs yesterday. Photo / Stephen Parker

School children donned beaks and helped Rainbow Springs celebrate Save Kiwi Week with a special visit.

About 800 children from Horohoro School, Kaharoa School and Selwyn Primary School gathered yesterday for a celebratory photo.

The aim was to get 1250 children, one for each of the kiwi chicks that have been raised at Kiwi Encounter and released into the wild. Wild weather on Tuesday meant the visit had to be rescheduled.

"The work that Kiwi Encounter does here at the park is amazing. Without their help incubating the eggs and raising the chicks until they're a healthy weight and can survive in the wild, our national icon would be struggling in numbers," said Rainbow Springs marketing manager Michelle Caldwell.

"Our work along with Department of Conservation and all the volunteers and trusts that protect natural habitat throughout the country so kiwi can flourish, is invaluable for preserving kiwi for ongoing generations."

The children made a gold coin donation before visiting the attraction. All money raised will go to kiwi conservation.

So far this season 13 chicks have hatched and there are a further 25 eggs in incubation. Save Kiwi Week runs until Sunday and is organised by Kiwis for kiwi, a charitable trust dedicated to kiwi conservation.

Meanwhile, international conglomerate Bridgestone Corporation has renewed sponsorship to help the kiwi breeding programme at Rainbow Springs.

Bridgestone's commitment included funding for more incubators, scales and other equipment for kiwi breeding programmes each year, and to help attract more visitors to the wildlife park established in 1932.

Rainbow Springs kiwi husbandry manager Claire Travers said the renewed sponsorship was welcomed.

"It'll be great having another incubator for more eggs to hatch in," she said.

"Without the help of organisations like Bridgestone, kiwi could be extinct within our lifetime.

Over 100 kiwi chicks are raised at the park annually.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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