Websters go wild for an injured kiwi

Department of Conservation —  13/05/2014

By Ligs Hoffman, Ellen Fitzsimons and Bev Bacon from DOC’s Web/Intranet Teams.

Injured kiwi wrapped in a towel.

‘Bel’ the injured kiwi

So how do three desk bound National Office staff come to have a live kiwi in their boot?

Ligs, Ellen and Bev were in Whanganui to meet with DOC staff about all things web/intranet. We had a great day with our colleagues who do the front line “real” DOC work and we were packing up ready to head back to Wellington when we heard the call “Anyone going to Wellington or Palmerston North?”

A ranger had arrived at the office with an injured kiwi. It had an injured toe, was dehydrated and needed treatment at Wildbase Hospital, Massey University. We were perhaps a little overexcited at being this close to a real kiwi and enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

With the frontline staff looking slightly bemused we leapt around like giddy schoolgirls as they made sure the kiwi was sitting comfortably in her box, on a soft bed of ferns. Her box was secured among our luggage in the back of the car. Having tweeted and Facebooked our friends we then set off.

A green transport box for the injured kiwi.

Transport box for the injured kiwi

On the way we decided the kiwi should be named Bel for Bev, Ellen and Ligs, an appropriate name as it turned out as she’s a girl.

Staff at Wildbase Hospital tending to the kiwi.

The expert staff at Wildbase Hospital tend to the kiwi

Despite the vets telling us we could leave at anytime, we wanted to watch how the treatment went and see her safely into her bed that night. We were fascinated to see the four staff administering antibiotics and fluids, and cleaning and bandaging up her sore toe. We learnt a lot as they explained what they were doing and why. We now know that you can tell the sex of a kiwi from the length of its beak – girls have a longer one.

Kiwi with an injured toe.

Checking out ‘Bel’s’ injured toe

Our part in the recovery of this kiwi was minor but made us feel proud and privileged to work for the Department of Conservation. We are thankful for organisations like Wildbase who partner with us to protect our native species.

The kiwi's injured toe up close.

The sore foot up close

8 responses to Websters go wild for an injured kiwi

    hairspray59 21/05/2014 at 9:10 am

    Kiwi are cool have a highly developed sense of smell, unusual in a bird, and are the only birds with nostrils at the end of their long beaks. Kiwi eat small invertebrates, seeds, grubs, and many varieties of worms. Thanks for caring.


    What kind of kiwi is it?


    Awesome Ligs, Ellen and Bev. Make sure you add your role as kiwi rescuers to your list of many talents!

    Jane Hughes 13/05/2014 at 9:51 am

    How exciting – and so cool that you got to name her too!

    Alicia Warren 13/05/2014 at 9:09 am

    That sore foot has massive claws! A much stronger and more lethal foot than my chickens have. I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end. Now I know why DOC rangers always hold kiwi feet firmly as they show a kiwi to the admiring crowd.


      I know Alicia they are amazing, I took a lot of photos of their feet! It also gave me a greater understanding of why kiwi chicks are raised in captivity and released once they are old enough to have more of a chance to fight off predators. Like you I wouldn’t want to mess with those claws.