Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rare White Kiwi Chick Born

A rare white kiwi chick, named Manukura, hatched on May 1 at New Zealand's national wildlife center. It's believed to be the first all-white kiwi chick born in captivity.

The unusual chick is not an albino, but the rare offspring of kiwi that were transferred the center, called Pukaha Mount Bruce, from Hauturu/Little Barrier Island last year.

"The kiwi population on Little Barrier Island has birds with white markings and some white kiwi, but this was still a big surprise," Pukaha Mount Bruce Board chairman, Bob Francis said in a press release.

Manukura was the thirteenth of fourteen kiwis successfully hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce this breeding season. When it is old enough to protect itself, Mankura may be released into a wildlife sanctuary.

But wildlife officials say they will make that decision carefully since, as Department of Conservation area manager Chris Lester pointed out, "A white kiwi might really stand out making it more vulnerable."

Pukaha board member, Jason Kerehi, said tribal elders saw the white chick as a "tohu" or "sign" of new beginnings. "Every now and then something extraordinary comes along to remind you of how special life is."