New Zealand Kiwis 3

Photo: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
July 16, 2010
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Photo: Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Geoff Reynolds (pictured above), SCBI bird keeper, let both kiwis into their new yard after John Mataira, consul general for the New Zealand Consulate in Los Angeles, blessed the birds in the Maori tradition, and New Zealand Ambassador Roy Ferguson handed the birds over. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s new breeding science rogram for kiwis will focus primarily on studying behavior and boosting the population using advances in reproductive technologies. No zoo has successfully performed an artificial insemination on a kiwi and the National Zoo aims to become the first to do so by studying why some kiwis are more likely to breed and the conditions that lead to increased levels of breeding in these monogamous birds. Scientists will also examine whether kiwis use scent markings to mark their territory and will use hormone-monitoring procedures to improve the captive management of this species. SCBI will have the capacity to hold up to six breeding pairs of kiwis.