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    The World's First White Kiwi

    NewsRare Birds NewsFriday 15 July 2011
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    The first ever white kiwi chick to be born in captivity in the world was hatched on May 1st in the Pukaha bird sanctuary in New Zealand – and presented to the public at the sanctuary yesterday. The male chick, named Manukura – meaning "of chiefly status" in Maori – is considered sacred to the indigenous populations of New Zealand due to his rarity. For others he is an emblem of the Antipodean nation’s attempts to protect the kiwi from extinction. Pukaha's field centre manager Kathy Houkamau said the chick had sparked unprecedented interest in the programme to save the flightless bird species, which is threatened by introduced predators such as stoats, rats and ferrets. The Department of Conservation, which runs the sanctuary, estimates there are fewer than 70,000 left in New Zealand, and several sub-species are listed as critically endangered.

    Manukura isn’t albino, either – he has a recessive gene that makes him completely white, so he truly is a rarity amongst these already rare birds. Manukura's apearance was a cause for celebration among Maori, who traditionally see a white kiwi as a symbol of new beginnings and renewal.

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