Kiwi: symbolic animal of New Zealand

Kiwi: symbolic animal of New Zealand

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Kiwi, not the fruit but the bird is one endemic to New Zealand, it is its symbol and risks extinction so much there is a dedicated entry in the national budget to preserve it and ensure that it does not remain just a "symbolic symbol".

It is one of the oldest animals in the world and lives in a paradise of glacial mountains, clear rivers and lakes, and even geysers. This Kiwi looks more likeable than beautiful, let's not imagine a bird like the hawk or the golden eagle, it has no wings and no tail, not to mention its shrill voice which is the origin of its name, in the Maori language. It comes also called Atterigi or Apteryx Shaw, is the only exponent of the Apterygidae family and of the order Apterygiformes.

Kiwi: an animal at risk of extinction

In part because it was hunted by local populations but above all because of the environmental changes that have made its habitat uninhabitable or almost uninhabitable. Kiwi it is increasingly rare to meet in its lands. The possum, which eats its eggs, preventing them from reproducing, then put it even more at risk. Here is why in the New Zealand Budget for 2015 there are 11.2 million New Zealand dollars - almost 7.5 million euros - allocated to a program to prevent the extinction of the Kiwi.

The Department for Conservation, responsible for the protection of New Zealand's natural and historical heritage, presented a plan drawn up in collaboration with theindependent organization "Kiwis for Kiwi" that in four years aims to save these birds, known throughout the world as part of their national identity, from the risk of extinction. THE official numbers are indeed alarming, for the Kiwi, the wild specimens are reduced at a rate of 2% per year and the predators that threaten it have no mercy.

Kiwi: animal faithful to its partner for life

An additional feature that makes the Kiwi an exemplary animal, even for us humans, as well as a symbol of an entire civilization and of an increasingly less respected environment, is its romantic vein. In fact, this bird is particularly faithful and, once it has found its soulmate, swears eternal love to her.

The Kiwi pairs they coexist but beforehand, the male to conquer the female in the mating season undertakes a real struggle to secure a mate for life. Once the hearts are joined, the female lays only one egg at a time, and you can also understand why: it is almost the size of an adult bird. Fortunately, the male too he takes care of it and "hatches" it for three months losing 20% ​​of your weight.

Kiwi: breeding

At the time of the Maori the Kiwi it was not bred but more than anything else hunted, this population chased it with dogs, followed it with torches and killed it to then obtain meat and skin. Today this habit is certainly less frequent but the threats for this species are not lacking. The Kiwis reared, those few, have a weight that goes 1 kg to 3–5 kg, depends on the variety, and can be up to 60 cm long, approximately, the females are larger, always, even more so if they are to lay eggs.

The funny body of Kiwi it is composed of a small straight head with a long and rather robust neck, an undeveloped thorax that "clashes" with the lower part of the decidedly massive body. The wings almost do not exist, they are 4-5 cm, hidden under the feathers, the tail is absent, the legs are muscular and have feet with four toes equipped with claws.

Does not fly, the Kiwi, but it swims well and loves to move in the undergrowth at night using above all smell and hearing, certainly not the sight which is poor even in the sunlight, given the small eyes that it finds. The umpteenth peculiarity of this volatile symbol of New Zealand it is the beak, long and flexible, slightly curved downwards, used to lean as if it were a third leg.

Kiwi: photo

We have not talked about feathers, but you will have noticed, they are not feathers, we call them that but in truth they are much more like hair, Apteryx are in fact bristly rather than fluffy. Better to look at them than to caress them.

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