Named “Manukura” by local native iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa, the chick, whose name appropriately means “of chiefly status,” is not an albino kiwi, but the rare progeny of kiwi bird that were transferred to Pukaha from Hauturu/Little Barrier Island last year.
The chick was the thirteenth of fourteen kiwis successfully hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce this breeding season, by far the most successful since 2003 when the kiwi were reintroduced into the wild there.
The white chick will remain in captivity with other chicks at Pukaha for at least four to six months where, subject to its behavior and welfare, it will be able to be viewed several times a week while being weighed. When it is old enough to protect itself, it could potentially be released into the sanctuary. However, Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers, who manage the kiwi program at Pukaha, will ensure the best interests of the bird remain a top priority.
“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.”
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