Wellington - A delicate repair job using a spare piece of egg shell and a bit of masking tape has saved the life of an endangered kiwi chick after its egg shell was badly damaged more than a week before it was due to hatch.
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The kiwi chick, named Fissure, hatched from its shell on October 13, 11 days after it was brought to staff at the Kiwi Encounter centre at the Rainbow Springs nature park.
Kiwi Husbandry Manager Claire Travers said the facility, which is part of a national kiwi hatching programme, had a store of clean, bleached kiwi egg shells on hand for emergency repairs.
Even so, she feared Fissure's egg had been so badly damaged that the chick could not be saved.
She was over the moon when the tenacious little kiwi emerged from its patchwork shell.
"The hatch itself was amazing with the part of the shell that was taped on to the egg actually mimicking the original shell and cracking in unison as if it was part of the existing egg."
Travers says she tries not to get too emotionally attached to the kiwi chicks, which will be released back into the wild once they reach a healthy weight. But Fissure may have already stolen a piece of her heart.
"He has got two beautiful little white patches of feathers above his eyes so you can tell who he is straight away. He looks a little bit like Albert Einstein, with his big bushy eyebrows."