Some of the specimens in our Collections - like the kiwis and tuatara
from New Zealand and the monotremes and marsupials from Australia - are of
|Kiwi and tuatara from the Natural
|Echidna and platypus from the Natural
These rare specimens were obtained many years ago before it
became evident that collecting would contribute to the rapid decline
in species that has occurred recently. But even then the Curators were aware that care
had to be taken and they obtained our specimens from reputable museums
that had a specimen to spare, or from zoological gardens, when animals
died, or when naturalists found dead animals in the wild.
Since we have these specimens, it seeems sensible to look after
them and to use them to further the cause of conservation.
CONSERVATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
The kiwi is an intriguing bird that
everyone knows. So we are using it to show how species on the
verge of extinction can be saved - if the will exists.
Stewart Island Kiwi. Copyright: Department of
New Zealand. Photo: J. Kendrick
Great Spotted Kiwi. Copyright: Department of
In 1991, the Department of Conservation (DOC) in New Zealand launched the
Kiwi Recovery Programme to save the kiwi from extinction. This programme
shows the ingenuity, dedication and effort that is needed to protect
and expand species at threat.
The Kiwi Recovery Programme involves:
Looking after kiwis in the wild by:
Raising awareness of the kiwi and its needs by:
- Nation-wide surveys to monitor kiwi populations;
- Protecting nests from predators;
- Managing key populations to save genetic diversity;
- Establishing the endangered Little Spotted Kiwi on offshore island
Finding out what is needed to help the kiwi by research
- Educational programmes;
- Seeking help from the community.
- The threats facing the kiwi and what must be done to save them
- Kiwi genetics, breeding and habitat requirements.
Raising chicks in Captivity - Operation Nest Egg:
Without help, most kiwi chicks are killed by stoats or cats in the wild.
Operation Nest Egg was a major breakthrough in finding ways to save the kiwi.
This technique enables eggs taken from the wild to be hatched in captivity,
so that young birds can be put back into the forest when they are big enough
Young Tuatara. Copyright: The Department of Conservation,
New Zealand. Photo: D. Newman
Learn more about New Zealand's unique animals and
plants and the work of the Department of Conservation, the Kiwi recovery
Programmes and the efforts to save other endangered species like the Tuatara,
Royal Albatross, Kakapo and Takahe by visiting the DOC website.
We are grateful to the Department of Conservation, New Zealand
for permission to use their photographs of kiwis, tuataras and Royal Albatrosses in the wild to
illustrate our Collections web-site.