3 Mar 2014

Kakapo hatches from crushed egg

9:12 pm on 3 March 2014

A kakapo chick has hatched on Codfish Island despite the egg being crushed by its mother.

It is the first chick to hatch since 2011 and brings the population of the critically endangered bird to 125.

The Department of Conservation said on Monday the egg was found by rangers a few days before it was due to hatch and was repaired with glue and tape. It was kept in an incubator until it hatched on Friday night.

Kakapo Recovery senior ranger Jo Ledington says it was a delicate procedure. "We just cut very small strips of tape and gently laid them on and glued around the edges to make sure it did stick. The main thing was to give the shell some strength," she says.

The programme's manager, Deidre Vercoe Scott, says it's a miracle that the chick survived.

"About a third of the shell had been crushed in, so it was rather dimpled and flattened - but the chick obviously managed to keep progressing and growing inside, no problem.

"We were worried about how it was going to hatch out of the egg, but it just needed a tiny help at the very last stages to lift the shell off the chick. It was a real miracle."

The bird is receiving 24-hour care with regular feedings, weighing and checks, but its gender won't be known for several weeks, Ms Scott said.

Four other eggs in incubators are due to hatch in the next few weeks.

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Photo: DOC

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Photo: DOC