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Monday, April 12, 2021

Wildlife conservationists grieve as New Zealand’s rare white kiwi, Manukura, dies after surgery

"It is with great sadness we announce the loss of our dear friend Manukura," the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

Various wildlife conservationists expressed their grief on social media after an extremely rare, snow-white kiwi bird — the first of its kind to hatch in captivity — died after undergoing a surgery in New Zealand. The kiwi — named Manukura — breathed its last, last week.

Her name was given by tribals, which means “of chiefly status” in Maori. In a statement, the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre said that Manukura’s arrival in 2011 was “hailed as a huge blessing by Maori and local iwi Rangitane o Wairarapa” tribe. 

Manukura, who was hatched at the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre in New Zealand’s North Island in 2011, had an extremely striking plumage. As compared to other kiwi birds with the usual brown feathers, Manukura’s feathers were a treat to the eyes, and were the result of an extremely rare genetic trait known as leucism.  

“It is with great sadness we announce the loss of our dear friend Manukura,” the Pukaha National Wildlife Centre said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

Rangers took Manukura to Wildbase Hospital in early December after she stopped eating properly and began losing weight.

“Wildbase vets operated to remove an infertile egg that had become stuck and unable to be passed naturally. More surgery was then required to remove her oviduct and most of her left ovary. The surgeries went well but were not enough to save the ailing kiwi whose health continued to deteriorate in the weeks following the operation,” the wildlife centre wrote.

“Manukura passed away peacefully at 12.50 PM on 27 December 2020 with rangers and veterinary staff present,” it added.

After Manukura’s death, a number of wildlife conservationists took to social media to express their sorrow.

The centre added that the white kiwi birds can exist in the wild but are extremely rare.

Kiwis — which are flightless, nocturnal birds  endemic to New Zealand — are recognised as an icon of the country. 

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