Tuku set to fly birdlife park nest

BIRD IN THE HAND: Kiwi Birdlife Park wildlife manager Nicole Kunzmann
holds female chick Tuku as she gets her health checks at CareVets in Queenstown.


Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park staff are preparing to say goodbye to the first kiwi hatched at the park in more than five years.

The 790-gram female chick, Tuku, hatched in December.

She was at CareVets in Queenstown yesterday for final health checks before jetsetting off to the North Island to be released into the Maungataniwha sanctuary, on the edge of Te Urewera National Park.

CareVets owner Ngaire Dixon yesterday took blood and faecal samples from Tuku, looking for any internal parasites and checking the youngster’s general health.

In the next week, Tuku would have a microchip inserted for life-long identification.

“She’s great. She’s looking in really good condition,” she said.

Kiwi Birdlife Park wildlife manager Nicole Kunzmann said they hoped to have flights booked for Tuku within the month but had to wait for the test results.

“We can’t book flights until she’s all clear and has a clean bill of health.”

She was thrilled that Tuku was finally being released into the wild because they had trouble with the egg and had to tape it during incubation to constrict water loss.

Tuku also had her leg over her head inside the egg, and in the wild she would not have hatched, Miss Kunzmann said.

To see Tuku do really well and come up for release was great, as well as being able to contribute to the kiwi sanctuary, she said.


Story courtesy of The Southland Times