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Calling all kiwis to help our national icon

Zoo News - Posted 23 October 2014

brown kiwi 0221 rc doc

The brown fluffy bird with the oversized beak is part of New Zealand's culture, but with 27 kiwis dying each week they could die-off in about 50 years.

In New Zealand there are 70,000 protected kiwi left - down from 100,000 in the early 1990s when the programme to protect kiwi was first introduced.

Conservation efforts have help reduce the number of kiwi being killed from about four to two per cent annually. But they still need our help.

Kiwi are at their most vulnerable in the first three years of their lives as their defence mechanism to stand still did not protect them against introduced predators such as stoats, ferrets and as a result 95 per cent died before they reached breeding age.

Once they past the age of three – the threat are cars, dogs and ferrets.

October is Save Kiwi Month and the money raised from the charity Kiwis for Kiwi appeal is aimed to raise funds for predator removal in kiwi habitat. Currently there are 80-community-led projects aimed at keeping predators out and money raised will fund these and enable new ones.

Here’s what Kiwi kids have to say about losing our precious bird www.kiwisforkiwi.org.

Hamilton Zoo participates in the recovery programme for brown kiwi.

Con is a young male from Napier’s Westshore Wildlife Reserve. He lives in a section of the free flight aviary. As kiwi are nocturnal it is unlikely visitors will spot him. Here is Con foraging at night.

Kiwi foraging1

Keepers monitor Con closely to make sure he is eating. They weigh him fortnightly and check his general condition. He’s a cute little fella but fiesty. His main weapons are its powerful legs and sharp claws.

Kiwi held by Dean

We hope to receive a mate for Con so we can contribute to the breeding programme. Otherwise we will help by holding birds not required to breed to free up space in other breeding facilities.

Hamilton Zoo has also supported the Maungatautari Kiwi programme through our Conservation Fund.

There are many ways you can help to.

  • Make you pet conservation friendly:
    • When out walking in the bush put your dog on a lead.
    • Keep your cat inside as much as possible.
  • Mark in your diary Save Kiwi Week and join in helping raise awareness in your community.
  • Share our facebook posts
  • Purchase your gifts from Hamilton Zoo. We stock a range of awesome kiwi gift which also support Kiwis for kiwi.

With your help, our children will grow up with kiwi.

How well do you know this loveable bird? Test your knowledge.


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