New Zealand's capital welcomes first Kiwi chicks in over 150 years

World Saturday 02/December/2023 09:15 AM
New Zealand's capital welcomes first Kiwi chicks in over 150 years

Wellington : Conservationists in Wellington, New Zealand, celebrated the discovery of two kiwi chicks, for the first time in over 150 years, marking a historic moment for the iconic national bird, CNN reported.

The Capital Kiwi Project, initiated just a year ago, successfully reintroduced the North Island brown kiwi to the city. Located in Makara, a suburb a mere 25 minutes from the city centre, these two chicks contribute to a local total of 65 North Island brown kiwi.

While the brown kiwi is one of the country's more common species, the New Zealand Department of Conservation warns of potential extinction within two generations without robust conservation efforts. The Capital Kiwi Project, with plans to monitor the chicks using transmitters, aims to hatch another 18 brown kiwi chicks, aspiring to establish a sizable, wild population in the capital, according to CNN.

Once numbering around 12 million, the kiwi population in New Zealand has drastically declined to 68,000, highlighting the urgency of conservation. Save the Kiwi charity and approximately 90 other conservation programmes are working diligently to boost the population. Predators like stoats, cats, dogs, and ferrets pose a significant threat, causing a 2 per cent annual decline in the Kiwi population, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation.

Save the Kiwi reveals a stark statistic, noting that 95 per cent of wild-born Kiwis in New Zealand face mortality before reaching adulthood. The primary culprits are roaming dogs and stoats preying on chicks. The Kiwi Recovery Plan, initiated in 1991, concentrates on predator control and community engagement to address the population decline.

Capital Kiwi Project team leader Paul Ward expressed optimism about the project's future. Last November's release of 63 kiwis near Wellington marked a significant milestone, bringing wild kiwi back to the area after a century. The successful births of the two chicks signal hope for the ongoing conservation efforts to secure the kiwi's place in New Zealand's natural heritage, CNN reported.