A kiwi injured in a possum trap may be released back into the wild within a week, thanks to the care of Massey University vets.
The young female North Island brown kiwi was found at Opato in the Waioeka Gorge in Gisborne, where a possum trap had injured its leg.
The bird was given to the Department of Conservation, which transferred it to Massey's wildlife hospital, Wildbase. A DOC spokesman said initial concerns were a potential infection or damage to tendons in the leg.
Wildbase resident veterinarian Aditi Sriram said the kiwi had two puncture wounds on either side of the foot.
"We took some radiographs to make sure there weren't any fractures or anything, and there weren't. The bones underneath looked good, but there was a lot of swelling."
She said the main concern had been to keep the infection out of the joint and from getting into the bone.
Treatment included keeping the kiwi's fluids up and administering antibiotics.
"We've given her pain medication because obviously that wound's going to be swollen and painful, and we keep her nutrition up as well, so we force-feed her."
Wildlife technician supervisor Pauline Conayne said the kiwi had to be force-fed because the bird was completely wild.
"If you've got a kiwi that has come from the wild, and hatched in the wild, they don't know what captive diet is, they don't know what bowls are, and they don't know what we are, so they generally don't ever learn to eat a captive diet, which means we have to force-feed from day one to day end," she said.
Dr Sriram added: "It looks horrible, and I hate doing it, but it's the only way to keep that nutrition up."
She said the wound was looking good, and she was confident the kiwi would soon be released.
Ms Conayne said it was not common to see kiwi injured in possum traps. "I've been here for 4 years, and I've seen two or three."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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