The hatching season for the rare Rowi kiwi has begun with the birth of the first chick at Franz Josef’s West Coast Wildlife Centre (WCWC).
“Our first kiwi has hatched,” shared the wildlife centre on Instagram, with a video of the young kiwi.
The Rowi is the rarest of the five breeds of kiwi, with only 600 living in the wild.
The little bird has yet to be named, but has been referred to by the team as ‘Hope’, a “beacon of light for all the people of New Zealand.”
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Hope weighs in at just 394 grams and has been monitored by the WCWC team since the egg was brought in by DoC rangers three weeks ago.
More chicks are expected to hatch over the next six months, the team members estimating between 30-48 chicks.
The Rowi chicks will eventually be relocated to a predator-free Island in the Marlborough Sounds, before being released back into the wild in the West Coast’s Omoeroa Ranges when they are big enough.