Friday, May 25, 2012

Wild at Heart: The Kiwi

Tomorrow is the opening of "Wild at Heart: Keep Wildlife in the Wild," the endangered species benefit that Andrew Hosner and I are co-curating at Thinkspace. 20% of the proceeds of the show will go to Born Free USA to help threatened wildlife. Hope to see you there!

Leontine Greenberg "Habitat Loss"




















The Kiwi is a flightless nocturnal bird endemic to New Zealand. Before the arrival of humans in New Zealand around the 13th century, New Zealand’s only mammals were three species of bat. All of the ecological niches normally reserved for mammals were taken up by birds such as the kiwi, which had no predators and hence no need for flight. Given this unique situation, the kiwi evolved some rather unbirdlike characteristics, such as near-winglessness, a keen sense of smell and long hairlike feathers. Once bonded, a kiwi couple is monogamous for life, and may stay together for 30 years or more. The female lays the largest egg for her body size of any of the world’s birds, after which she requires the male to incubate it for 80 days.

Though they are much revered by the Maori and are the national symbol of New Zealand, all five species of kiwi are endangered. While historically they have been threatened by deforestation, their remaining habitat is now well-protected and the main threat to their survival is non-native predators, such as dogs, cats, pigs, ferrets and stoats.

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