Why New Zealand Is Obsessed with Its Native Birds
New Zealand has an internationally unusual focus and dedication to its winged creatures, Tess McClure writes in a story published by The Guardian. That love has shaped its national identity and conservation agenda and launched an enormous country-wide campaign to wipe out animals that threaten the avian population.
“You know what you know,” says Andrew Digby, a science adviser at the Department of Conservation – and what New Zealand knows is birds. The country is one of only a handful of places around the world that have no native terrestrial mammals.
“It’s a massive part of our identity, right?” says Damian Christie, a New Zealand broadcaster who now runs a neighbourhood trapping group. “The birds were here before any of us. The birds are such a part of our folklore, of Māori mythology – and then there’s that call. You can’t ignore that call in the morning.”
For millions of New Zealanders, the day begins with the birds: either outside the window or over the radio, where every morning the national broadcaster heralds its AM news bulletins with a native birdcall, McClure writes.
Original article by Tess McClure, The Guardian, May 26, 2023.