Going Bananas over Kiwis
The kiwi bird, New Zealand’s national symbol, is in danger of going extinct within five to 10 years, enviros warn. New Zealand’s kiwi population is now estimated at 70,000, down from 5 million in 1923. Though the population has been declining for decades, a recent study by New Zealand’s Forest and Bird Society, which found an 18 percent drop last year in the population in one of the bird’s few remaining strongholds, has prompted a rash of concern. The society is calling for a $5.2 million recovery program, an end to logging and forest clearing in key habitat areas, and the establishment of some 10 protection zones that would keep predators away from the birds. So far, the conservative National Party government and the opposition Labour Party have failed to seriously address the issue.