A MAJOR operation to save a 23-day-old kiwi chick has proved successful.
Etahi, who underwent surgery to remove an unabsorbed yolk sac just prior to Christmas, is recovering well at Orana Wildlife Park.
Native Fauna head keeper, Tara Atkinson, said in the past a previous bird with this issue did not survive after the operation.
However, Etahi even enjoyed a scratch from the keepers, which was a little unusual for the normall aloof species, she said.
She said Etahi needed to be weighed each day by staff to continually monitor its progress.
Ms Atkinson said that the reason for the operation was that the yolk sac had ruptured into the abdomen causing complications.
"The chick's internal organs needed to be irrigated to clean out the infection causing germs. Once the operation was complete, Etahi was eating again and within two days rocketed ahead so we are very pleased about that," she said.
"This wee kiwi has shown incredible growth rates since the operation and achieved its hatch weight (291gm) within a week of the procedure! Etahi is a spirited and cheeky individual who gets up to mischief and makes lots of mess at night."
The chick is yet to be sexed, with feathers to be sent for DNA sexing this week.
Orana Wildlife Park has three more kiwi eggs in natural incubation at present and staff are hopeful that they will all successfully hatch, Ms Atkinson said.
The breeding season ends in February.