Conservation efforts in New Zealand to save the flightless kiwi bird have paid off, with two species — the Northern brown and the rowi — no longer at a high risk of extinction.
The latest update to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species upgraded the status of the birds from “endangered” to “vulnerable” because of a steady increase in population.
The IUCN is a global body that evaluates the existential threat to various animals and plants. Their findings, published in Tokyo on Tuesday, assessed the status of 91,523 species, and found 866 to be extinct.
However, the change in the status of the northern brown and rowi kiwis marks more than 25 years of successful conservation efforts by the New Zealand government and community groups.
The fight to save the flightless bird
The main threats to the northern brown and rowi come from habitat loss, and predators like dogs, stoats and feral cats which kill fledglings, or the chicks in the nest.
The rowi population, at 160 in 1995, was originally classed as “endangered,” but the IUCN says that number has grown to 450 adults today. Meanwhile, northern brown numbers have stabilized after decades of decline and the IUCN expects them to start increasing soon if conservation efforts continue.
The successful Kiwi Recovery Plan, launched by the New Zealand Department of Conservation in 1991, involved predator control, community engagement, and Operation Nest Egg.
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SOURCE: CNN, Manisha Ganguly