May Day at New Zealand's national wildlife centre was marked by the surprising advent of a white kiwi chick.
“As far as we know, this is the first all-white chick to be hatched in captivity,” said Pukaha Mount Bruce Board chairman, Bob Francis. Not an albino, the chick is the offspring of Little Barrier Island kiwis that were transferred to Pukaha last year in an effort to increase the kiwi gene pool and population. The successful breeding season this year resulted in 14 hatchlings, but this little fella is special. Named Manukura, or “of chiefly status”, the chick is enjoying just that.
“Every now and then something extraordinary comes along to remind you of how special life is.”, said Jason Kerehi of Rangitane o Wairarapa, pictured below.
Manukura will be hand-reared for the next four to six months in Pukaha Mount Bruce’s kiwi nursery, with the goal of eventually releasing it into the sanctuary.
“A white kiwi might really stand out making it more vulnerable,” said DOC area manager Chris Lester. We want to ensure that as many people as possible get a chance to see it, and that we keep it as safe as possible. We also recognize the need to take everything into account when deciding how best to keep Manukura safe.”
At 24 days, Manukura appears to be in very good hands.