Love of living animals: the little spotted kiwi
We need to protect the web of life and care about the other living species we share this planet with. Pygmy tarsiers eat and harbor insects that we have seen in the home – insects, spiders, lizards, bedbugs, lice, fleas, roundworms and tapeworms. The vaquita is preyed upon by large sharks and killer whales, driving them away from us. But there are only 10 vaquitas left and in their absence, sharks and whales’ diets may change. A tiger in the wild indicates that the forest it inhabits is healthy and diverse. At present, there are 3,900 tigers in the wild in the world and more than double (8,000) in captivity. By protecting the web of life, we are building a gentler world for all.
The Wingless, Tailless Kiwi is New Zealand’s national bird, but very few New Zealanders have actually seen it, although they sometimes hear it at night.
The conversation begins two hours after dark, then resumes two hours before sunrise. They talk about their house. Kiwis are territorial, and threats to their habitat can result in clash of paws and claws, causing tufts of feathers to fall.
How the Kiwi came to New Zealand
Kiwi Date several million years at the time when the little birds flew in the country. There were few predators and a lot of food. Gradually, the birds lost their ability to fly, because they no longer needed it. This mutation is common in birds around the world, according to a study by Nathalie Wright, University of Montana. She studied 868 species of birds, including the kakapo parrot, coots, moorhens and some flightless ducks. She also observed island birds that were able to fly, but slowly preferred not to fly, as they didn’t need to.
There are five species of kiwifruit – the brown kiwi, the large spotted kiwi, the tokoweka, the rowi, and the small spotted kiwi – the smallest, sweet, and lovable kiwi. Kiwis are only found in New Zealand.
The smaller one has fluffy, thick, unkempt hair about life on the ground. He also has a large mustache. Its beak is ivory and long. His view is very poor. At night he sail by sound and smell. During the day, it lives in a dark burrow, or in a hole in a log, or under thick leaves.
Small spotted kiwis are monogamous for decades, producing one or two chicks per year. At night, both parents escort the chick to protect it. If a couple fails to reproduce, they may go their separate ways.
A story of extinction
Scientists say kiwis have turned nocturnal with the introduction of predators. Kiwis flourished in New Zealand’s main islands until the arrival of the Polynesians, providing kiori (rats), their regular source of protein. Rats multiply quickly, and they have become the number one predator of kiwis.
700 years ago the Maori monitoring. They cleared forests, planted crops and brought dogs, which also preyed on the kiwi. But the most damage was done by the Europeans who brought in dogs, cats, weasels, ferrets and pigs. Predators are the main threat to all kiwis. Second, the destruction of habitat, and third, the people.
the Ismall spotted kiwi became extinct on the North Island of New Zealand in the late 1800s. By 1912, there were only five small spotted kiwis left in the South Island. The country’s government transferred the five little kiwis at Kapiti Island, a predator-free sanctuary, a variety of trees, water and healthy soil with creatures that live there, producing a proper kiwi diet.
On Kapiti Island, the five little spotted kiwis flourished. They are bigger in size because they don’t have a lot of competition for food. At night, they come out slowly, using their slender, elongated beaks to pat the ground. They have a strong sense of smell and they feed on earthworms, Adult beetles, caterpillars, cicadas, chafer beetle larvae, crane larvae, flies, moths, spiders and some fallen berries and leaves. When they smell their prey, they dig with their talons and beaks to soften the soil. Then they insert their beaks and feast.
Kapiti Island can handle a maximum of 1,200 small spotted kiwis. As their numbers increase, the overflow is sent to other bird sanctuaries that can accommodate them.
In the mid-1970s, captive breeding was attempted, but it took over 14 years for a small spotted kiwi to be born and raised successfully. The best results come from providing a safe sanctuary for the kiwi.
Thirty years ago, another group of small spotted kiwifruit was disappearing on the mainland. As a result, they were sent to three more mainland shrines in offshore islands, multiplying their numbers to 700, with a total 1900 inhabitants of this species from 2019.
Every five years, scientists study the smallest kiwi in all of their different sanctuaries. They do this by tracking them down and bringing them to the sun. They want to know why populations are increasing or decreasing, which birds are breeding and the size of its territory. These studies provide vital information necessary for small birds to survive and thrive.
There is still a lot to learn. Scientists still don’t know when the kiwifruit reaches sexual maturity, or how long it can live. They think they can live 100 years.
Risk of extinction after reestablishment of population size
It is a happy story, but also a tale of precaution. In the 1980s, a genetic analysis of several small spotted kiwifruit that were brought to Long Island revealed that the birds did not spread. Not a single chick was born.
The study concluded that all of the small New Zealand spotted kiwifruit were from the first five birds brought to Kapiti Island in 1912. Most of these were clearly born from a single pair, indicating that they have low genetic variance.
The other four species of kiwifruit have a rich genetic diversity. But if, like the little spotted kiwi, genetic diversity is low, the chances of survival new diseases, environmental stressors, habitat change, fires, global warming or human encroachment are minimal and many can be wiped out in one fell swoop. Genetic diversity is fundamental for evolution. It allows an animal to react to change and continue to survive in spite of itself.
For this reason, the New Zealand Ministry of Conservation (DOC) considers the little spotted kiwifruit to be recovering, but still in danger. In other words, the little spotted kiwi may risk extinction long after its population size has recovered.
A sharp fall in the population
This is what happened to the small birds of Red Mercury Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island from 2011 to 2017. They were considered safe places for small spotted kiwis because they are free from predators and have good health. food and water.
However, a population study carried out by the DOC found that in the aforementioned islands there was suddenly 20% decrease in population from 2011 to 2017.
A drought that occurred in 2013 has been blamed for the loss. This made scientists understand that the kiwifruit is much more vulnerable to climate change than they initially estimated.
With the drought of 2013, the rains fell to only 10% of their normal level. The soil dried up and the insects in the soil died or burrowed deeper into the soil.
The lack of rain dehydrated the small spotted kiwis and the absence of insects left them hungry. Their beaks weren’t long enough to dig deeper into the ground where some insects might have survived. Because they cannot fly, it was more difficult for them to find alternative sites for water and insects.
The drought lasted for two and a half months. People at bird sanctuaries have seen nocturnal kiwis come out during the day, and many have died of dehydration despite treatment at the Auckland Zoo.
From 2012 to 2017, the number of small spotted kiwifruit on Tiritiri Matangi Island increased from 80 to 100 birds to 60 to 80. From 2011 to 2016, their population on Red Mercury Island increased from 70 to 80 to 60 to 70 birds.
Hugh Robertson, senior science adviser to DOC, said the Kiwis that survived the drought returned to their normal lives when the rain returned. “The concern would be that if droughts became more and more frequent, these sites might not be able to contain as many birds as expected,” said Robertson.
It is predicted that climate change will increase the frequency and duration of drought in parts of New Zealand, resulting in decreased annual precipitation. Animals like the little spotted kiwi will be affected, as with increasing populations there may be fewer suitable places for them to thrive, especially as the climate warms..
What if there weren’t the little spotted kiwis?
Small spotted kiwis are part of a habitat where they play an essential role for the benefit of other species vital to the ecosystem. It is also a charismatic bird species. Through conservation, small spotted kiwis can continue to play a role in habitat protection and in boosting ecotourism.
In terms of the economic impact of the small bird, this bird is preserved at the expense of logging. However, the benefits that flow from research, ecotourism and a rich and diverse ecosystem may outweigh the negative effects on the forest industry.
In terms of conservation status, IUCN says the Little Spotted Kiwifruit is “Near Threatened”. However, DOC says it is the most endangered of all kiwifruit species.