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The artificial incubation of wild laid kiwi eggs – a conservation tool Suzanne Bassett 1 & Claire Travers 2 2 Kiwi Encounter, Rainbow Springs, Rotorua,

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Presentation on theme: "The artificial incubation of wild laid kiwi eggs – a conservation tool Suzanne Bassett 1 & Claire Travers 2 2 Kiwi Encounter, Rainbow Springs, Rotorua,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The artificial incubation of wild laid kiwi eggs – a conservation tool Suzanne Bassett 1 & Claire Travers 2 2 Kiwi Encounter, Rainbow Springs, Rotorua, New Zealand 1 Oralis Limited, Dunedin, New Zealand J. Newman

2 Acknowledgements Department of Conservation & all community trust kiwi projects Kiwi Encounter, Rainbow Springs, Rotorua Massey University & University of Otago Dr Trevor Kelly, Vet Centre, Rotorua

3 Talk outline Kiwi biology Kiwi decline & threats Operation Nest Egg Incubation challenges Ethical considerations Kiwi welfare Summary

4 Ratites Kiwi Cassowary Emu Ostrich Rhea Moa Elephant bird M. Potter

5 Taxonomy North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) Okarito brown kiwi (Apteryx rowi) Southern tokoeka (Apteryx australis) Haast tokoeka (Apteryx australis ‘’Haast’) Great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii) Little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii) R. Morris

6 Kiwi abundance & distribution Department of Conservation North Island brown kiwi (25,000) Great spotted kiwi (17,000) Okarito brown kiwi (250) Southern tokoeka (15,000) Haast tokoeka (300) Little spotted kiwi (1,500)

7 The kiwi egg & chick Egg large relative to body size (20%) (~440 g) 1 functional oviduct, 2 functional ovaries 2 eggs/clutch, 2-3 clutches/yr (NIBK) 1 egg/1 clutch/yr (SI sp) High fertility (NIBK) Low fertility (SI sp) Male incubation, length ~85 d wild, 78 d art inc Highly precocial chicks (~320 g hatch weight) Otorohanga Zoological Society

8 Kiwi decline All kiwi are endangered Adult mortality ranges 5 – 16%/yr - Predators cause 28% mortality 50% eggs failed to hatch –10% due to predators Rate of decline 6%/yr (McLennan et al. 1996) Kiwi Encounter

9 Juvenile kiwi mortality Juvenile kiwi mortality 94% –Introduced mustelids kill 77% Main predator = STOATS (Mustela erminea) Predation declines as chicks grow Forest & Bird Tui De Roy

10 Management responses Habitat protection –Public lands – Department of Conservation –Private lands – Landcare Trust, QE2 Trust, Community programs Predator Control - Poisoning, trapping and exclusion fencing of mammalian predators Direct management of Kiwi –Captive rearing of wild-laid eggs & chicks (Operation Nest Egg – ONE) G.L. Blackwell Department of Conservation

11 Operation Nest Egg Kiwi eggs & chicks removed from the wild Taken to a captive rearing institute for incubation, hatching & rearing Chicks raised until 800 g+ & released to wild Chicks released in predator free area O.N.E a short term measure to ‘buy time’

12 Management & animal welfare Habitat protection – few ethical issues Predator Control - On conservation estate DOC does not require AEC approval for “regular & routine” animal control under Section 5, sub-sect 3a, b, c of Animal Welfare Act 1999 Direct management of Kiwi –Administered by DOC –ONE also considered “regular & routine” captive management under Animal Welfare Act 1999

13 Kiwi Encounter 1995/96: (1 egg)  2007/08 (171 eggs) Egg age 0 – 75 days (2005/06 median 38 days) 910 eggs to end of 07/08, 667 eggs viable, 623 chicks released to date Forced draft artificial incubation Focus on North Island brown kiwi Kiwi Encounter

14 Incubation challenges High hatch success but… Cracked eggs Embryo mortality Malpositioned chicks  assisted hatches S. Bassett & KE

15 Egg results 2007/08 120/171 eggs incubated (70 % eggs viable) 106/120 chicks hatched (88 % hatch success) 1000 th ONE chick S Bassett Waikato Times

16 General conclusions Improvements in O.N.E -  hatch success (40 % to 90+ %) -  chick survivorship pre-release 60 % to 95 % post-release 80+ % New techniques: x-rays, advances in candling & incubation, chick rearing and release protocols Kiwi Encounter T. Kelly

17 Kiwi Encounter & animal welfare O.N.E –“Regular & routine” management under Animal Welfare Act 1999 –Ongoing research to improve animal welfare in ONE Ways to improve hatching success and chick survival Egg and chick transportation protocols Disease management and quarantine protocols Approved by DOC and the Kiwi Recovery Group

18 Kiwi Encounter & animal welfare Day to day husbandry –Hygiene, housing, feeding, health “Yolk-sac” operations to remove impacted/infected yolk Abandoned eggs or chicks –Development and refinement of best practice –Responsible to DOC & Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA)

19 Kiwi Encounter & broader kiwi welfare Injured birds –Small numbers of injured kiwi treated by Kiwi Encounter Vehicle collisions Trap injuries Dog attacks – wild dogs & ‘kiwi’ dog accidents –Poor public & vet. awareness of standards & responses to injury/harm Kiwi Encounter

20 Kiwi Encounter & broader kiwi welfare Concerns about impacts of O.N.E on kiwi welfare –Do captive reared kiwi have lower survival than wild chicks? No difference in survival Earlier breeding attempts –Is there evidence of stress or harm to captive kiwi No imprinting No evidence of prolonged stress Kiwi Encounter

21 General conclusions – kiwi conservation Increased public awareness of kiwi conservation Change in perception of O.N.E Increased kiwi numbers Strategic use of O.N.E - pulsed application by year or by area e.g. stoat eruption S Bassett

22 Summary Kiwi continue to decline but… Captive rearing is making a huge difference Urgently require effective stoat control … a long way off The next step … Improve husbandry for other kiwi sp O.N.E to recover populations near extinction –eg South Island species Continue to follow & improve best practice for husbandry & welfare Public education on kiwi welfare Kiwi Encounter

23 Thank you

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