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A white kiwi has been hatched in New Zealand. From Stuff:

A rare white kiwi chick has been born – the first to be hatched in captivity.

The chick, named Manukura, is not an albino but the rare offspring of some North Island brown kiwi from Little Barrier Island.

He was born at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, 24km north of Masterton, on May 1, weighing approximately 250 grams.

The Little Barrier Island kiwi were transferred to Pukaha in May last year.

Elders from the Rangitane o Wairarapa iwi gave the chick his name, which means “of chiefly status”.

Rangitane chief executive Jason Kerehi said tribal elders saw the white chick as a “tohu” or “sign” of new beginnings.

“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 this year, Manukura is a very special gift.”

Manukura is being hand-reared in Pukaha Mount Bruce’s new kiwi nursery. He will remain in the nursery until the end of May, where visitors can view him in his nocturnal brooder box and at his daily weigh-in at 2pm.

The white chick will then remain in captivity with other chicks at Pukaha for at least four to six months. When it is old enough to protect itself, it could potentially be released into the sanctuary.

Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers, who manage the kiwi programme at Pukaha, will ensure the best interests of the bird remain a priority.

“A white kiwi might really stand out making it more vulnerable,” said DOC area manager Chris Lester.

“We want to ensure that as many people as possible get a chance to see it, and that we keep it as safe as possible.”

So they are releasing it.

I don’t know if that’s the wisest move.

It won’t last long– that’s just my guess.

But I might be wrong.

 

 

 

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From the NZ Herald:

Reports of a kiwi making a mysterious 14,000km journey to a Russian resort town have been revealed as a case of mistaken identity.

Russian media reports said the kiwi was found in a “decorative garden” near Sochi port and local conservationists were concerned for its safety.

Conservationists said the bird may have been smuggled into the country aboard a container ship, but that was denied by Sochi port authorities.

An expert in New Zealand warned Russians that kiwi can be aggressive, had a powerful kick and have been known to kill possums.

But Department of Conservation spokesman Reuben Williams today confirmed the so-called kiwi was a common bittern that had likely been wrongly reported as a kiwi by a Russian official.

“They have wings but it looks like this one was running around in the garden.

“I was surprised by the initial report but not so surprised it has turned out to be mistaken ID.”

Bittern are in the heron family of birds and have been listed as endangered because of their declining population.

So it wasn’t a kiwi. New Zealand’s customs officials don’t have to worry about breaches in their system.

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A Kiwi in Sochi?

From The BBC:

New Zealand says it is checking reports that a rare kiwi bird has been found thousands of miles from its native land in the Russian port of Sochi.

Russian media reports said the bird had been found in a garden in the city and had been there for three days.

A local zoologist suggested it had arrived on a cruise ship.

Kiwi are endangered and cannot fly. An expert also said he knew of no illegal trade in the birds because they were both shy and hard to handle.

Sochi is a Black Sea port and tourist resort with a warm climate some 16,000 km (10,000 miles) from New Zealand.

Russian media said that the bird was found in a “decorative garden”.

Port officials said it was unlikely to have arrived by ship because controls were too stringent.

Local experts quoted in the reports said they were now working out how to keep the bird alive.

“This is such a strange story, I’m shocked. It baffles me because kiwi are nocturnal and very shy… I’ve never heard of a black market involving kiwi,” Paul Kavanagh, senior officer at Queenstown’s Kiwi Birdlife Park, told Radio New Zealand.

“If you don’t know how to handle one, they can be very aggressive,” he added.

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) called for caution, saying similar reports had turned out to be hoaxes, the New Zealand Herald reported.

But a spokesman said the DOC was making enquiries to see if the report could be confirmed.

Kiwi, long-beaked chicken-sized birds that cannot fly, live only in New Zealand.

In 2008, the number of kiwi remaining was estimated to be approximately 72,600, according to the DOC website.

Sochi used to be where all the Soviet elite would take vacations. It’s a subtropical place. Kind of like the commie version of Myrtle Beach.

But now the various Russian oligarchs go there.

We all know that virtually anything can be bought in Russia. It might have happened that some wealthy Russian managed to bribe a customs agent, who then allowed the import of a New Zealand bird.

But the identity of this bird has not been confirmed.

So who knows what actually was found in that garden?

Maybe it’s another chupacabra!

Update:  Not a kiwi!

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