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Baby kiwi rescued from certain death - 13 June 2007

A baby kiwi, which had been badly injured by a car, has been nursed back to health and will be released back into the wild at Opito Bay in the Bay of Islands.

Local schoolchildren will help “Kiwi Man” Lindsay Charman release the kiwi near where it was found injured.

The North Island Brown Kiwi, nicknamed Phantom and weighing only 500grams at the time of the accident, was taken to the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre in late January.

There it was found to have a damaged air sac which made it hard for it to breath and injuries to its hips.

Gay Blunden of the NZ Kiwi Foundation said: “It was hardly able to eat and without help would have died.”

The bird spent more than two months at the recovery centre where it slowly began eating and walking on its own.

In April it was returned to Aroha Island Ecological Centre near Kerikeri where it is continuing its rehabilitation in the kiwi pen under the care of Gay Blunden.

She said: “It is still quite small but very active. We know it's getting better because it's hard to handle, not co-operative at all, and it's difficult to catch for weighing, even in the small enclosure at Aroha.”

Phantom will be released at Opito Bay on Friday June 15 at 2 pm.

Gay Blunden comforts kiwi

INVITATION TO THE MEDIA

Kiwi Man Lindsay Charman will be releasing the kiwi with the help of local primary school children.

Opito Bay near Kerikeri. Friday, June 15 at 2pm.

If you wish, you can film Phantom being caught from his holding pen (less than 2 km away) an hour or so earlier.

We also have photos of Phantom when he was first rescued.

Kiwi Facts

There are fewer than 70,000 kiwi remaining in New Zealand and many are in the Far North District. At the rate of decline they will be extinct within a decade in most places.

Cats and stoats kill around ninety-five per cent of kiwi chicks before they are six months old. Adult kiwis are in danger from attack by dogs and ferrets. A dog with a taste for kiwi can quickly wipe out whole populations.

After dogs, cats and stoats, cars are the biggest killer of kiwi.

According to DoC figures, at least 3 kiwi every year for the past 10 years have been killed on the short stretch of road where this kiwi was injured.

NZ Kiwi Foundation Facts

The New Zealand Kiwi Foundation is the largest kiwi protection group in the Far North. Our aim is to assist local people to protect their kiwi through helping them to understand our national icon and by setting up and supporting pest control run by them on their land.

Currently we cover an area from Whangarei to Cape Reinga of approximately 15,000 hectares of private land.

We also help manage a further 10,000 hectares near Wellsford on the Okahukura Peninsula.

See kiwifoundation.org.nz

For further information ring Helen Sissons on 021 407 397 or email helen@newsjournalism.info