Zoo Miami Gets Reprimanded for Kiwi Petting
A video of the national bird being handled by Zoo Miami visitors has caused an outcry in New Zealand, with even the prime minister weighing in, Natasha Frost reports for The New York Times.
Shy and retiring by nature, with a preference for solitude and the dark, few would describe Pāora, 4, as a natural diplomat.
Yet this Miami-based kiwi – one of about 60 of the flightless birds living in zoos outside their native New Zealand – has been forced into the international spotlight, literally and figuratively, Frost writes.
Footage of Pāora being petted by zoo visitors under fluorescent lights has caused an outcry in New Zealand, where it is common knowledge that the national bird is nocturnal and should not be handled other than by experts. Zoo Miami apologised, saying that it would no longer allow members of the public to touch him.
“I immediately went to the zoo director, and I said, ‘We have offended a nation,’” Ron Magill, a spokesman for the zoo, told Radio New Zealand.
Original article by Natasha Frost, The New York Times, May 24, 2023.