Image credit: Allie_Caulfield/Flickr
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that shook Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this month caused damage and threatened the life and livelihood of many of the city's residents. Now, as the recovery begins, there is at least one small cause for celebration: A rare kiwi, whose incubator was rocked by the quake, has hatched.The bird was still in its egg when the quake struck. The tremors caused the egg to roll around in the incubator but rubber padding prevented it from breaking. It hatched on Sunday and is now under care at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch, from which it will eventually be transferred into the wild.
Though the kiwi is the avian symbol of New Zealand, it is endangered. Threatened primarily by invasive predators like rats, cats, and possum, it is believed there are fewer than 70,000 of the ground-dwelling birds left in the wild—and only 300 of the subspecies to which this new chick belongs.
"Our first egg hatch this year," Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said, "is one breakage that is a welcome relief after the recent quakes."
Scientists at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve have named the chick "Ricktor" in recognition of the shakeup it endured.