White Kiwi, Rare New Zealand Bird, Survives Surgery
Manukura, the rare white kiwi that underwent surgery Friday, is recovering after a heart scare during the operation to remove a stone from her gizzard. According to the Associated Press, the native New Zealand bird is among the rarest of her species.
Now the six-month-old Manukara, who weighs just two pounds, has returned to being properly grouchy and defensive.
“You try to grab her and she kind of karate chops you,” veterinarian Lisa Argilla with the Wellington Zoo explained to the AP. “She growls and she grumbles and she’s getting really stroppy. So that’s great, that’s normal kiwi behavior, and we love it when our patients do that.
The news of Manukara’s survival was especially welcome to native Maori leaders, who took her May 1 birthday as an omen. According to the AP, her name means “of chiefly status” and many Maori believe her arrival “heralds a new beginning.”
“The elders here believe to be something very, very special,” said Jason Kerehi, chief executive of the Rangtinane o Wairarapa tribe. “She is an inspiration to all people.”
Manukara was taken to the zoo for her operation two weeks ago when an X-ray revealed she had swallowed two stones that she was unable to pass naturally. During her surgery, however, her heart rate dropped quickly and gave staff a scare.
Now she’s recovering and is likely to be returned to her home at the Mount Bruce wildlife center next week.
Kiwis are nocturnal birds whose numbers have been dramatically lowered by predators, the AP said. Most kiwi are able to hide in the forest undergrowth by virtue of their brown coloring, but white birds like Manukara lack a color gene that allows for this possibility. They have been sighted in the wild, but most are born in captivity.