White kiwi returning home after surgery
Wed, 09 Nov 2011 6:01a.m.
Celebrity white kiwi chick Manukura will be driven back to her home at Wairarapa's Pukaha Mount Bruce this week, the Department of Conservation (DOC) has confirmed.
A test on Saturday had shown the Manukura's white blood cell count was a little high, but a further blood test done on Monday showed an improvement.
The six-month-old bird, which weighs 1.15kg is doing well, very "feisty", and ready to go home, Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker says.
National wildlife centre Pukaha brought Manukura to the zoo after she had eaten two stones.
The chick passed one of the stones naturally but an operation had to be done to remove the other.
The chick is showing signs she is coping well with captivity, so it is not likely she will be released into the wild, DOC Wairarapa area manager Chris Lester told NZ Newswire.
"But if she doesn't cope we will consider releasing her - we might try different management techniques before we did," he said.
Kiwi are inquisitive birds which play with things with their long beaks, often swallowing them.
The bird is related to the extinct moa, which had gut stones to assist in processing food, so it is not entirely unusual for kiwi to have the odd stone to help them with digestion too.
Named by local iwi, Manukura, which means "of chiefly status" in Maori, hatched at Pukaha on May 1.
She is the first-ever white kiwi chick known to be born in captivity.
There are "only a handful" of rare white kiwi in New Zealand - although the exact number is not known, Mr Lester said.
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