8 hoiho hatch at Dunedin Wildlife Hospital in world-first

December 13, 2022

In a world-first, yellow-eyed penguin eggs have hatched in captivity at Dunedin's Wildlife Hospital.

Eight hoiho chicks were recently hatched at the hospital. They spent their first week being reared at the hospital before being moved to foster nets.

Lisa Argilla, a senior vet and the wildlife hospital's director, told Seven Sharp her staff were stoked with the result.

Nine eggs were taken from Green Island near Dunedin in November. All were incubated at the hospital, though one did not hatch.

The wildlife hospital said taking them from the wild would give them the best chance at survival because newborn chicks are vulnerable to avian diphtheria. The bacterial infection affects chicks' mouths and is usually fatal if left untreated.

The yellow-eyed penguin, also known as the hoiho, is one of New Zealand's most endangered birds, numbering around 200 breeding pairs.


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