By Charlotte Shipman
The world's only known white kiwi nearly died on the operating table this afternoon while having laser surgery to break up a large stone in its stomach.
Thought to be the only white kiwi in the world, Manukura's history of setting records is growing – she’s now the only kiwi to have undergone laser surgery.
Urologist Rod Studd assisted during the procedure, and says it is the most unusual operation he’s undertaken.
Manukura became sick after eating two large stones. She managed to pass one naturally but the second stone was too big, so was shattered with a laser at Wellington’s teaching hospital.
The laser is usually used to break up kidney stones in humans, not small rocks in kiwi, and because Manukura only weighs 940 grams she can’t be under anaesthetic for more than an hour and a half.
An hour into surgery there was a tense moment when doctor Cathy Houkamau was briefly unable to locate the kiwi’s heartbeat.
“I immediately thought about the people who really care about her, how they would be sad if something went wrong,” Dr Houkamau says.
Zoo staff managed to get the kiwi's heart beating strongly again and minutes later the troublesome stone was small enough to be removed from the stomach.
Manukura will recover back at at Wellington Zoo.