Operation Nest Egg (ONE) is managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC). DOC staff or volunteers from groups like the Paparoa Wildlife Trust bring kiwi eggs to Willowbank. This means searching for kiwi nests using radio tracking equipment in dense bush. The eggs are incubated at Willowbank. More than 580 kiwi eggs have been looked after since Willowbank began ONE. When they hatch the young chicks are looked after until they are big enough to look after themselves. Sometimes Willowbank can have up to 5 kiwi chicks in a burrow all bundled up together. When the kiwis are big enough they go to creche sites where there are no predators like stoats or cats. Often these are islands or fenced off areas of forest. Once they are nearly adult size they can be released back into the wild.
Operation Nest Egg can be used many ways. It can be used to bring kiwis back to places where once they roamed. It can quickly bump up wild populations that have declined to just a few individuals. It can help larger populations recapture their former range and it can be used to establish entirely new kiwi populations around the country.
Operation Nest Egg at Willowbank
Releasing Kiwi back into the wild is a key objective the Willowbank breeding and conservation. So far Willowbank has hatched 580 kiwi for releasing back into natural “safe” habitats. Visitors to Willowbank, in Christchurch, are able to visit the kiwi enclosure and experience seeing kiwis in a natural environment. This is a fantastic kiwi experience, a must for all New Zealanders and New Zealand.