A ‘birdie’ for conservation

Department of Conservation —  28/11/2013

By Anna McKnight, DOC Partnership Ranger

Twelve year old Dylan Bagley came to Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary, near Lake Taupō, to practice his golf swings after school, and ended up helping to release a baby kiwi.

Kiwi chick Georgie, with David Speirs and Renee Potae from DOC, and kiwi kids Dylan and Amy Bagley.

Kiwi chick, Georgie, with David Speirs and Renee Potae from DOC,
and kiwi kids Dylan and Amy Bagley

Ten kiwi chicks will be released within the predator proof fenced golf course over the spring and summer months.

Dylan and his family were in the right place at the right time to get a kiwi experience of a lifetime—helping the Department of Conservation kiwi team release a chick into the forest.

Dylan couldn’t wait to go to school the next day and say, “You’ll never guess what I did at golf last night?!”

Making Georgie's burrow to release her in.

Making Georgie’s burrow to release her in

The Tongariro chick was named ‘Georgie’ as she hatched on the date of Prince George’s christening.

DOC are using the private sanctuary as a local opportunity to crèche baby kiwi chicks.

“Partnering with DOC has allowed us to contribute to the conservation of one of New Zealand’s endangered species and broadens the experience of our golfers,” says Nigel Lloyd, Wairakei Golf course manager.

The use of the local sanctuary has many advantages for the Tongariro Kiwi Team, not only reducing travel time for rangers and volunteers, but also experiencing the novelty of transporting kiwi in golf carts!

Experiencing the novelty of transporting kiwi in golf carts.

DOC’s Jo de Lange and Renee Potae experience the novelty
of transporting kiwi in golf carts

David Speirs with Dylan and Amy.

DOC’s new partnership director for the Central North Island region,
David Speirs, with Dylan and Amy Bagley

BNZ Operation Nest Egg (ONE) enables DOC to take kiwi eggs from the local Tongariro Forest, one of five national sanctuaries for kiwi.

The eggs are hatched at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter and reared to about 400 grams. The chicks then stay at Wairakei until they weigh about 1 kilogram, big enough to fight off stoats, giving them a higher chance of survival for their release back into the wild.

Amy, David and kiwi Georgie.

Amy, David and the gorgeous Georgie

While young Dylan has a promising future in golf with a handicap of 12, Georgie is lowering her handicap without having to play against stoats. It would also be fair to say that Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary are playing above par for conservation with this birdie!

Plus a bonus for Dylan – he scored some lost golf balls from the forest where Georgie was released!

Plus a bonus for Dylan – he scored some lost golf balls from the
forest where Georgie was released!