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Biggest kiwi bird transfer attempted

Published: 6:42PM Friday May 07, 2010 Source: ONE News

Although kiwi cannot fly, a large number of the iconic birds have taken to the air in the biggest transfer ever attempted.  
Thirty kiwis have winged their way from Little Barrier Island to a breeding programme at Mt Bruce.

The kiwi birds arrived at Wheunapai by helicopter and left by Hercules. Around 650km south, the 30 kiwis touched down in Masterton.

Hercules Pilot Flight Lieutenant Matt Walls, who airlifted the birds, says he felt a bit sorry for them.

"We sympathised for them and hopefully they didn't mind too much having the noise. We didn't have any ear plugs that fit them unfortunately."

The kiwi birds in Masterton are to join 24 other kiwi on nearby Mt Bruce as part of a breeding programme.

The reason behind it is to increase the gene pool and allow for the kiwi bird population to be broad enough to provide for long term sustainability says DOC Wairarapa Area Manager Chris Lester.

The new kiwi are not from a domesticated population but straight out of a wild colony.

Once they had been whisked off to their new mountain home, medical staff examined all the birds.
Coming through the checks with flying colours, the kiwi will now be released in a secret location.