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Forest and Bird Heads to Beehive to Plead for Kiwi

4 October 1999

MEDIA RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Forest and Bird Heads to Beehive to Plead for Kiwi

Contact: Kevin Smith (04) 385 7374 or (04) 934 2473 (home)

The Forest and Bird Protection Society will seek the backing of Conservation Minister Nick Smith tomorrow for a $10 million a year plan to save the kiwi from extinction.

Forest and Bird's Conservation Director Kevin Smith said in advance of tomorrow's mid-morning meeting that a major new initiative is urgently needed to save the kiwi.

"Kiwi are still present in sizeable tracts of native forest in the North and South Islands but their populations are in steep decline".

"Alien predators such as ferrets, stoats, dogs, and feral cats, are killing kiwi chicks and adults in large numbers. The odds against saving the kiwi in mainland forests lengthen everyday".

"The Conservation Minister Nick Smith has said our proposals to protect the kiwi by creating a number of 10,000 to 20,000 hectare kiwi zones will not work. We intend to convince him otherwise. Predator numbers can be reduced to levels low enough using current technology to allow enough kiwi chicks to survive to halt the rush to extinction.

" Forest and Bird believed that postponing a major operational programme to save the kiwi while better predator control techniques are developed was not a viable option.

"With kiwi numbers declining at the rate of 18% a year in some areas, we do not have the luxury of time".

"This is a bird exhibiting all the signs of a species headed for extinction".

"Numbers are in steep decline in nearly all areas of its range, both adults and chicks are being killed, and the bird does not breed well in captivity".

"Tomorrow we are making a final plea to Nick Smith to try and persuade him to seek urgent funding from his Cabinet colleagues before the election for a major kiwi rescue programme".

"Our previous attempts to meet with the Prime Minister to get her to save the kiwi did not succeed. Nick Smith needs to take over our campaign and win Jenny Shipley's support".

ENDS

Kevin Smith Conservation Director Forest and Bird Protection Society PO Box 631 Wellington New Zealand ksmith@wn.forest-bird.org.nz ph 04 3857374 fax 04 3857373 www.forest-bird.org.nz


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