Rare white kiwi chick hatches at NZ wildlife park

Rare white kiwi chick hatches at NZ wildlife park (AP)
In this May 22, 2011 photo provided by the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre Thursday, May 26, 2011, a rare white kiwi chick is seen three weeks after it hatched on May 1 in Wellington, New Zealand. The all-white kiwi, named 'Manukura' is believed to be the first white chick born in captivity. Kiwis are normally brown in color. The chick is the thirteenth of fourteen kiwi chicks hatched at the wildlife center this season. (AP Photo/Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, Mike Heydon, Jet Productions) EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A rare white kiwi chick hatched at a New Zealand wildlife reserve will have a protected early life - unlike wild kiwis that face nonnative predators that are slowly wiping them out, an official said Thursday.

The chick, named Manukura or "Chiefly One" by local Maori, was born at Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Center on May 1, weighing about 8.8 ounces (250 grams), Department of manager Chris Lester said.

Lester said white kiwis are spotted in the wild about every three or four years, but the last one in captivity was released in 1915. The small, are usually brown.

Manukura is being hand-reared in the reserve's new nursery, and will remain closely protected for at least the first year of his life, he said.

Once the bird is able to fend for itself, Lester said one alternative will be that it "remains in a predator-proof environment at the reserve ... or we will release him to take his chances."

Native to New Zealand, kiwis face potential extinction from a range of introduced predators that are also killing many other native bird species.

Rangitane o Wairarapa Maori tribal chief executive Jason Kerehi said the tribe's elders saw the white chick as a "tohu," or sign of new beginnings, and a "taonga," or treasure.

"Every now and then something extraordinary comes along to remind you of how special life is," Kerehi said. "While we're celebrating all 14 kiwi hatched (at the reserve) this year, Manukura is a very special gift."

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May 26, 2011
Rejoice, the great white Kiwi has been born fulfilling the prophesy we have been waiting thousands of years for. The end of the epoch is near. All true believers must gather at the birth site for the birth of the great white Dodo which will soon follow signaling the great galactic alignment and the great change. It's going to be great.

P.S. Genetic scientists needed to extract Dodo DNA and clone them to make this prophesy come true. Apply at makethatprophesyhappen.org Converts welcome.

May 26, 2011
haha I'm not sure whether this comment above is sarcastic or not. Either way it's pretty funny.

May 31, 2011
I'm not impressed. Why isn't there a blue polka-dot kiwi.

Jun 09, 2011
Sarcasm? We have veered off our path. We have entered an alternate time line and nothing will be the same ever again. Don't believe it? Duke Nukem Forever is coming out next week, what more proof do you need?

Jun 10, 2011
That's one f-ed up space marine!

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