NEW ZEALAND’S AMBITIOUS PLAN TO SAVE THE KIWI WITH PREDATOR-FREE ISLANDS

24th July 2018

A staggering two hundred species go extinct every single day, but one country is taking matters into its own hands in an ambitious attempt to save its national icon. 

Despite an evolutionary journey that goes back millions of years to the time of the dinosaur, New Zealand’s indigenous kiwi could soon go the way of its prehistoric ancestor if action isn’t taken now.  The population has declined by 99% over the past 50 years and could go extinct in the next 50.

The kiwi’s best chance of survival now lies in the hands of the charity Kiwis for kiwi who are undertaking a remarkable feat – creating predator-free islands. But they need support and New Zealand-born, Old Mout Cider, is once again inspiring Brits to help save this vulnerable bird – plus for everyone who signs up to the mission here, 20p will be donated to the cause.

They’ve teamed up with wildlife-expert Michaela Strachan to create a short documentary film called The Forgotten World, which shows Michaela traveling to New Zealand’s Kapiti Island - an isolated sanctuary for the nation’s most endangered birds, which mirrors the prehistoric conditions of the time that the kiwi’s ancestors, the dinosaur, roamed the land – and for avid dinosaur fans, the parallels to this Jurassic age don’t end there.

While in the remote and wild Forgotten World, Michaela witnesses first-hand, the positive results of the predator-free island initiative, with a kiwi population thriving in the absence of predators, which were once brought to the country by man. As a result of these predator-free islands, the kiwi survival rate has increased from 1 in 20, to 14 in 20 on these islands.

The thought-provoking three-minute documentary film follows Michaela’s journey – both day and night – and gives an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at an extraordinary project to restore the forest and freshwater ecosystem as closely as possible to their pre-human state. She joins a Kiwis for kiwi ranger as they trek through the exotic terrain, seeking out wild kiwi in burrows and discovering positive signs of a recently hatched kiwi egg.

Michaela Strachan said: "It's staggering to think that a bird that has been around for 50 million years could go extinct in the next 50. We need to do everything we can to save as many species as possible. In New Zealand, conservationists are working tirelessly to protect the kiwi from predators that have seen its population plummet. We are a small world and must take threats to species extremely seriously before it’s too late.

“I hope this documentary film helps people understand just how precious the kiwi’s history is, and more importantly how its future is hanging in the balance. Let’s not be the generation that says goodbye to species, but be the generation who rallies together to look after our environment. So join Old Mout’s mission, and together, we can save the kiwi.”

Old Mout’s Emma Sherwood-Smith said: “As New Zealanders, our epic landscapes and great wildlife inspire our adventurous spirit.  If we are to enjoy it in the long run we desperately need to look after it. Yet, the kiwi, the symbol of our country, is in great peril. The work to create predator-free islands has become a beacon of hope for the people of New Zealand, and we want to spread the word to help save this vulnerable bird from the brink of extinction.

“Our Kiwi roots mean this little bird is close to our hearts which is why we’re making the plight of the kiwi famous to people in Britain – a nation of animal lovers. We hope people will fall in love with these captivating, clever and charming little birds.  No one wants to see a species go extinct and we hope our documentary film will have a halo effect to get everyone who enjoys our cider in Britain to think a little more about the impact they have on their own environment while supporting our mission.”