A kiwi chick that hatched Jan. 12 at the Toledo Zoo, died today.
A specific cause for the death has not yet been determined; further tests are pending, zoo officials said.
The chick, the only one at the zoo, had been strong and healthy until recently, when she started to lose weight and blood work revealed a possible bacterial infection, said Dr. Chris Hanley, the zoo’s chief veterinarian. When initial medical treatment did not improve her condition, the zoo’s veterinary staff performed surgery to learn more.
Initial observations during the surgery supported the possibility of a bacterial infection, Dr. Hanley said. Kiwi chicks have a high mortality rate. Only 28 kiwi live in U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Kiwi are nocturnal, flightless birds native to New Zealand. In the wild, kiwi were once widespread in New Zealand, but today, populations are isolated and fragmented. Wild kiwi populations are estimated between 25,000 and 30,000 birds, with declines of 90 percent or more over the last century. They are listed as an endangered species.