16 October 2005
Kiwis call for saving of icon
namesake ‘a national priority’
Saving the kiwi from extinction in the wild is of such importance it should be treated as a national priority, according to a recent nationwide survey*.
The Bank of New Zealand survey revealed an overwhelming public awareness of the plight of the kiwi as an endangered species in the wild and identified a strong call by New Zealanders to support ways to save our national icon.
Eighty seven percent of respondents in the national survey said saving the kiwi was of such importance it should be addressed as a national priority.
And 80% of respondents said they would be prepared to contribute financially to help the kiwi continue to live in large numbers in the wild – although the survey did not test specific levels of financial support to which respondents would be prepared to commit.
Kiwi numbers have declined 26% in the past seven years and the trend shows no signs of slowing, according to the Department of Conservation (DoC). Two of the six species of kiwi are threatened with extinction.
Paul Jansen, DoC’s National Kiwi Co-ordinator (operations and planning), says the survey results are timely given the critical situation of kiwi survival in the wild.
“It’s crisis time for the kiwi. This national icon, which so many of us identify with, is really under siege,” says Mr Jansen.
“Despite our current best efforts we will see many more local populations of kiwi disappear over the next 15 years.”
He says the main reason for declining numbers of kiwi in the wild is the loss of kiwi chicks to predators such as stoats and weasels. There are encouraging results of kiwi numbers increasing in sanctuaries as the result of a stoat-trapping regime.
The nationwide survey of 750 New Zealanders aged 18 or over, has a margin of error of +/- 3.6%. It found 89% of respondents were concerned that the kiwi could largely disappear from the wild in the next few years and be confined to zoos, sanctuaries and offshore islands.
Eighty six per cent of respondents
claimed to have seen a kiwi in a zoo, while only 22% claimed
to have seen one in the wild.
Kiwis call for saving of icon namesake ‘a national priority’
The main project to protect kiwi in the wild is the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust** which was launched in 2002.
Bank of New Zealand National Sponsorship Manager, Richard Allen, says the Bank is encouraged at the apparent level of support for the kiwi from the research, but more needs to be done.
While the research shows New Zealanders care about the recovery of the kiwi, donations and financial support is relatively low.
“As New Zealanders we all have a responsibility to save our national icon for future generations,” says Mr Allen.
“We need to harness the support for the kiwi the survey has identified and we will be working hard to engage with ordinary New Zealanders to fundraise and help build up numbers of kiwi in the wild, so the kiwi is not confined to sanctuaries and off-shore islands”.
To support the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust, the public can donate using their EFTPOS card at any Bank of New Zealand ATM machine or call 0900 SAVE KIWI (72835) to make an automatic $10 donation, or donate online at www.kiwirecovery.org.nz or at any Bank of New Zealand branch.