US Zoo Apologizes Over Treatment of Kiwi
The Miami Zoo is facing backlash from New Zealanders after a video of zookeepers handling their national icon, the kiwi bird, went viral. The video showed the bird being passed around for selfies in bright fluorescent lighting, which angered New Zealanders who launched a petition to support the “mistreated” animal. Miami Zoo’s communications director, Ron Magill, has since apologized and confirmed the attraction featuring the kiwi bird had been cancelled.
Poor Treatment of Kiwi Sparks Fury Among New Zealanders
The footage of Miami Zoo’s mistreatment of the kiwi bird sparked outrage among New Zealanders who consider the bird to be a taonga species. The handling of the kiwi bird violated the best practice manual for these animals, which states that they shouldn’t be taken out of their burrow or handled in public. The kiwi is a shy, nocturnal animal that should be kept in dark enclosures that mimic their natural environment.
Zoo Cancels Attraction Featuring the Kiwi Bird
Miami Zoo’s communications director confirmed that the attraction featuring the kiwi bird had been cancelled in response to the backlash from New Zealanders. Ron Magill also announced that the zoo will be taking steps to ensure the animals in their care receive appropriate treatment and that the incident will not be repeated. Despite the controversary, the kiwi bird in Miami Zoo was reported to be healthy and well.
New Zealand Prime Minister Weighs In
New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins commented on the incident, stating that it “shows a lot of Kiwis take pride in our national bird when they’re overseas.” He thanked the Miami Zoo for taking the situation seriously and making public statements of regret. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation will be discussing the handling and housing of the kiwi bird with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums to address concerns raised by the incident.