Ambassador Moore names Smithsonian National Zoo’s newest Kiwi chick
Ambassador Mike Moore named the Smithsonian National Zoo’s newest Kiwi chick, “Omana,” after an area southeast of Auckland, New Zealand. The National Zoo felt it appropriate to ask Ambassador Moore to name the Kiwi chick since there are five species of kiwi, all of which are flightless and unique to New Zealand. The National Zoo is home to several brown kiwis, the only kiwi that can be seen outside of New Zealand. Omana is the third female brown kiwi that hatched at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo on 11 December 2011.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers brown kiwi an endangered species due, in part, to predation by dogs, cats, and stoats (members of the weasel family). The remaining wild population of the brown kiwi is estimated at roughly 24,000, down from 60,000 in the 1980s.
Only five zoos outside of New Zealand have successfully bred these unique birds, and the National Zoo has cared for six chicks—three males and three females—since the first Kiwi chick, Toru, hatched in 1975. Omana will not be on exhibit at the Zoo. However, in a few weeks, visitors to the Zoo’s website will be able to watch Omana forage in her new enclosure via the Kiwi Cam.