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Zoo Miami apologizes to New Zealand for mistreating a kiwi fruit – Insurance for Pets

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The kiwi (the bird, not the fruit) is about the size of a hen, with a round back, no tail (by the way, it doesn’t fly), brown-grey plumage, a very long pale beak , very fine. It is above all, since 1905, the national emblem of New Zealand, which does not mess with symbols. Kiwis « are at the heart of the Maori myth ». They are robust, resistant, adaptable, so many values ​​that we associate with New Zealanders. They are found only on the archipelago (they even gave its name to the inhabitants), but it is an endangered and protected species. Most locals have never seen a single one in the wild.

« Meeting with a Kiwi »

4-year-old Paora was born and lives in Miami Zoo in the United States (but like pandas with China, he remains New Zealand property). You should know that the kiwi diaspora is not very large: only 60 individuals live in captivity in the world. To bring some money into the coffers, the zoo which had celebrated his birth with great fanfare had the good idea to organize VIP sessions with Paora.

« Encounter with a kiwi »: 23 dollars to handle it, stroke its head, tickle its whiskers (because yes the kiwi also has whiskers) or feed it… all under the very bright light of a projector to keep him awake: perfect for selfies on Insta, but not great for the kiwi, volatile nocturnal and not frankly sociable.

As a result, we came close to a diplomatic crisis: as soon as they saw the images, New Zealanders got angry. They launched a petition, organized an e-mail campaign of complaints to the zoo, sounded the alert to the Ministry of Conservation, which went there with its comment. Others have even made calls for the prime minister to raise the matter with the US ambassador in Wellington.

“It was frankly indefensible”

In 24 hours the zoo backtracked, wrote a long apology to one of the complainants and its spokesperson responded to all the New Zealand media like here on local television

« It was frankly indefensible… We were wrong« , recognizes Ron Magill who regrets having « offended a nation » and announces that Paora will no longer have any direct contact with the public, the « meeting with a kiwi » is permanently removed from the program. The Prime Minister of New Zealand immediately thanked him « to take it seriously« . « It shows that New Zealanders are very proud of their national bird when abroad, and they take action if they see kiwis being mistreated » a dit Chris Hipkins.

The birds, which once numbered 12 million in New Zealand, have seen their population drop to just 68,000, according to the charity Save the Kiwi, and conservation efforts have raised awareness of their vulnerability.

We knew the diplomacy of the panda, we now have a lot to learn from the diplomacy of the kiwi.

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