New Zealand's national icon, the kiwi bird, is in steep decline

The kiwi (Apteryx haastii) is in swift decline, disappearing at a rate of 2 per cent per year. Around 200 years ago, millions of kiwi inhabited New Zealand, but in 50 years’ time there may be none left. Old Mout Cider has joined New Zealand-based charity Kiwis for kiwi in the fight to help save this extraordinary species — a nocturnal, colour-blind bird that has survived millions of years against the odds. In fact, its heritage is special: the kiwi shares DNA with the tyrannosaurus rex.

There are five species of kiwi formerly recognised today, all thought to have evolved from a single ancestor, the proto-kiwi, which lived 50 million years ago. These species all diverged from the original on account of their habitat’s changing landscape. The sudden emergence of such geographical obstacles as mountains, glaciers, seas and rivers saw the flightless kiwi — one of just five flightless birds left on Earth — struggle to stick together; groups became separated and splinter populations gradually developed.

Source: The Independent, 6 August 2018…