Conservationists have protested that the toys, which were recently withdrawn from sale, do not set a good example for dogs, the main predators of the kiwi, the country’s national emblem and which is subject to numerous conservation programmes.
Chew for a better crunch? In New Zealand, a supermarket chain sparked controversy by selling dog toys shaped like brown kiwis wearing Santa hats. The little bird, a symbol of the nation, is today on the verge of extinction, with fewer than 70,000 individuals remaining on the island, compared to millions in the 19th century. The animal is therefore unable to fly, and is therefore easy prey for any predator wishing to put its teeth into a chick, such as cats, which are particularly harmful in New Zealand, or stoats, or even dogs. After complaints from environmental activists, DIY store chain Miter 10 agreed to stop selling the toys, which did not set a good example for dogs.
“Promotes [le fait] That a kiwi in a dog’s mouth is normal is not the right message we want to send to dog owners. Michelle Impey, general director of Save the Kiwi, which fights to save the species, made the announcement on Friday, December 15.
Whether stray dogs or walking with their owner, the simple desire to play with a small animal can be enough to kill it, according to the New Zealand Ministry of Conservation. In August, the Bay Bush Action group, which monitors kiwi trees in the North Island’s Opua Forest, found eight kiwis torn apart by dogs. Therefore, turning them into chew toys is not easy.
“We really fight to keep kiwis safe from a number of pests and predators, including stray and feral dogs.” Hammered by Michelle Impey. In 2016, the New Zealand government launched a massive kiwi conservation program, with an intense campaign to eliminate their natural predators. Dog owners have been trained to teach them to stay away from kiwis when walking.
Rescue measures for this small bird, whose number is increasing despite everything, according to… Global Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature – except for the brown kiwi that lives in the South Island. Last year, 63 kiwi were released into the wild in the north of the archipelago, and for the first time in more than a century, two chicks were born in the wild near the capital, Wellington. Efforts that conservationists don’t want to see wasted over a simple dog toy.