New Zealanders seek to save endangered kiwi bird
Since humans began populating New Zealand, some 75 percent of the islands’ indigenous bird species have gone extinct. Due to habitat loss and nonnative predators, it looks as though the same fate may befall the kiwi, New Zealand’s iconic flightless bird. Kiwi populations are estimated to be declining by 2 to 5 percent each year; surveys suggest that in the wild, only one in 20 kiwi chicks survives to its first birthday. A partnership of government agencies, local communities, nonprofit groups, and commercial operations hopes to make a difference with Operation Nest Egg, a program that moves kiwi eggs to remote islands to hatch, then returns grown chicks to the wild. The program’s success rate is rising, giving backers optimism that the bird that gives its name to the country’s currency — and, for that matter, its residents — will persevere.