The National Aquarium of New Zealand breeds brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) as part of the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) captive breeding programme.
The kiwi bred are part of a studbook for the species, a carefully managed programme that ensures appropriate breeding of individuals that do not share ancestry.
These programmes play a key role in protecting threatened species, conservation research and conservation education. This approach involves managing the animals at different ZAA-accredited zoos and aquariums as one big population and supports genetically diverse and sustainable species populations.
The Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) represents the collective voice of the zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife parks across Australasia that operate to the highest standards. ZAA and its member zoos lead over 100 breeding programmes in support of conservation and community education. ZAA Relationships & Collection Development Manager, Todd Jenkinson manages the kiwi programme as Species Coordinator and sits on the Kiwi Recovery Group.
In 2020, Napier City Council donated use of a surplus area of the kiwi facility to Save the Kiwi Trust. Save The Kiwi use the area to raise kiwi that have been hatched at the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua. They keep them until the birds reach a ‘stoat proof’ weight of around 1kg and can be released to a wild habitat. Save the Kiwi have had 97 kiwi chicks through the facility since moving in.
The National Aquarium team has benefited from having Save the Kiwi next door. The National Aquarium bird keepers have received specialist training given by a member of the Save the Kiwi team. This has helped them achieve their certification as Kiwi Accredited Handlers. Kiwi handling skills include things like monitoring egg development, handling chicks and adults safely and administering medication.
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