Quirky the kiwi returns to the Whinray Reserve

The return of Quirky: Jamie Quirk and ‘Quirky’ the rescued North Island brown kiwi prior to its re-release into the Whinray Scenic Reserve.

TEARS and celebration surrounded the re-release of ‘Quirky’ the kiwi back into the Whinray Scenic Reserve.

Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Jamie Quirk, was involved in the discovery and removal of a vulnerable North Island brown kiwi egg to Kiwi Encounter in Rainbow Springs, Rotorua as part of a national programme called Operation Nest Egg.

The egg was kept in an incubator for a 70 day period prior to it’s hatching following which time the small kiwi chick was returned to the Whinray Scenic Reserve for further care.

Once the chick reached an adequate weight of more than 1100 grams it was able to be released.

Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust recognised Mr Quirks’ long-standing dedication to conservation by naming the kiwi chick after him.

Mr Quirk has a long association with the Motu region. In 1979 he was involved in the re-opening of the Whinray track which included the construction of the Whinray Motu falls suspension bridge, along with kiwi and weka surveys at Whinray.

Mr Quirk said he was “blown away” to see the excitement and support of the people who attended a small ceremony to celebrate the event of Quirky’s release to freedom.

“Often the work we do is outside the public eye, so to see so many people excited and moved by this event was fantastic.”

Around 10 people gathered to give Quirky an appropriate send off into the Whinray Reserve which is at the top of the Motu Trails.

One person who attended the ceremony had returned to the area for a holiday. The visitor was moved to tears, describing it as a “once in a lifetime experience,” said Mr Quirk.

Operation Nest Egg, a programme which promotes the removal of kiwi eggs from their wild nests to improve their chances of reaching adulthood, is crucial to the ongoing success of increasing kiwi populations around New Zealand.

“Kiwi eggs are particularly vulnerable to stoats and other predators.

“Eggs and chicks in the wild have a much lower survival rate than those in protected areas,” said Mr Quirk.

Quirky was released at a healthy 1.3 kilograms and now has a 90 percent chance of reaching adulthood.

The Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust began monitoring kiwi in the reserve in 1999, and has been working with DoC to restore and protect kiwi through trapping and the Motu breeding programme.

“The Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust do a tremendous amount of work protecting an iconic kiwi species in the Scenic Reserve,” said Mr Quirk.

He added that it had been an honour being involved with the project and he was very touched by the gesture.

“It’s a real motivator to continue doing what we’re doing to make New Zealand safe for all the ‘Quirky’s’ out there,” he said.

TEARS and celebration surrounded the re-release of ‘Quirky’ the kiwi back into the Whinray Scenic Reserve.

Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Jamie Quirk, was involved in the discovery and removal of a vulnerable North Island brown kiwi egg to Kiwi Encounter in Rainbow Springs, Rotorua as part of a national programme called Operation Nest Egg.

The egg was kept in an incubator for a 70 day period prior to it’s hatching following which time the small kiwi chick was returned to the Whinray Scenic Reserve for further care.

Once the chick reached an adequate weight of more than 1100 grams it was able to be released.

Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust recognised Mr Quirks’ long-standing dedication to conservation by naming the kiwi chick after him.

Mr Quirk has a long association with the Motu region. In 1979 he was involved in the re-opening of the Whinray track which included the construction of the Whinray Motu falls suspension bridge, along with kiwi and weka surveys at Whinray.

Mr Quirk said he was “blown away” to see the excitement and support of the people who attended a small ceremony to celebrate the event of Quirky’s release to freedom.

“Often the work we do is outside the public eye, so to see so many people excited and moved by this event was fantastic.”

Around 10 people gathered to give Quirky an appropriate send off into the Whinray Reserve which is at the top of the Motu Trails.

One person who attended the ceremony had returned to the area for a holiday. The visitor was moved to tears, describing it as a “once in a lifetime experience,” said Mr Quirk.

Operation Nest Egg, a programme which promotes the removal of kiwi eggs from their wild nests to improve their chances of reaching adulthood, is crucial to the ongoing success of increasing kiwi populations around New Zealand.

“Kiwi eggs are particularly vulnerable to stoats and other predators.

“Eggs and chicks in the wild have a much lower survival rate than those in protected areas,” said Mr Quirk.

Quirky was released at a healthy 1.3 kilograms and now has a 90 percent chance of reaching adulthood.

The Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust began monitoring kiwi in the reserve in 1999, and has been working with DoC to restore and protect kiwi through trapping and the Motu breeding programme.

“The Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust do a tremendous amount of work protecting an iconic kiwi species in the Scenic Reserve,” said Mr Quirk.

He added that it had been an honour being involved with the project and he was very touched by the gesture.

“It’s a real motivator to continue doing what we’re doing to make New Zealand safe for all the ‘Quirky’s’ out there,” he said.

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