"American researchers studying ways to breed kiwi in captivity are about to receive their first delivery of the shy brown birds for almost 20 years.
Five North Island brown kiwi were packed into crates and put on a plane to Los Angeles yesterday evening, destined for new homes at San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Virginia and Frankfurt Zoo in Germany.
The two pairs and a female will join an expat population of about 39 kiwi - 23 living in Europe and 16 in America.This idea that they can help our breeding program from overseas is a red herring in my view. They want to learn how to breed in captivity to increase the numbers of birds - in zoos, in captivity.
"The Smithsonian got its first pair of kiwi in 1968 as a gift to the US Government from then New Zealand Prime Minister Keith Holyoake. They produced the first chick born outside of New Zealand in 1975, a male which is still alive and entertaining visitors at the zoo.
A spokeswoman for Auckland Zoo, which hatched and reared the birds being exported this week, said they were needed overseas to inject some genetic diversity into the small populations.To me it is exploitation without consideration for the individual birds or the species. I just don't trust their motives or reasons.