World's first-ever ultra-rare white Kiwi bird, known as Manukura, is no more.
The National Treasure of New Zealand was declared dead after undergoing surgery. The unique bird, who inspired children's books and toys, was losing weight and not eating early this month. Rangers caring for Manukura informed and got her admitted to a local Wildbase Hospital. The wild animal veterinary practice specialist is located at Massey University in Palmerston North.
Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre, Manukura’s habitat, broke the sad news in a social media post. Shared on its official Facebook handle, the post revealed that the first white kiwi hatched in captivity died on December 27, 2020 at 12.50 pm.The center informed that an operation was carried out to remove a stuck infertile egg which was unable to pass naturally. Pūkaha’s general manager, Emily Court told NZ Herald that the vets performed surgeries to remove the oviduct and most of her left ovary. The infertile egg got stuck in her ovaries which caused Manukura to suffer excruciating pain.
The Wildbase Hospital, where the ailing kiwi’s treatment took place, said that the operation went well but it was not enough to save her. Following the surgeries, Manukura’s health continued to deteriorate. Manukura, ambassador of the Pukaha National Wildlife Center, passed away in the presence of rangers and veterinary staff.
The online post which lamented the loss of the rare kiwi reads, “It is with great sadness we announce the loss of our dear friend Manukura.”
Manukura was the first to hatch among the three white kiwis at Pūkaha center during the 2011-2012 breeding season. She was hatched in the same center on May 1, 2011. The kiwi was initially found to be male, but was later identified as female which reckoned with her uniqueness. Rangitāne o Wairarapa’s tribal communities named the kiwi 'Manukura' as it means 'of chiefly status.'
The North Island Brown Kiwi had an extremely rare genetic condition found in both parents, known as leucism. The staff at Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre at Mount Bruce were not aware of Manukura’s colour until she was hatched. Instead of brown coloured feathers, she was born with pale feathers due to her rare trait. Her feathers turned pure white, making it the rarest kiwi in the world.
The female North Island kiwi was globally renowned for its beautiful white feathers. Famous children's author from New Zealand Joy Cowley visited her and wrote about the white kiwi in her book Manukura, the White Kiwi.