The Miami Zoo issues an apology for mistreating the famed kiwi bird.
After video of guests petting the nocturnal bird under strong lights sparked uproar in New Zealand, a US zoo apologized for mistreating a kiwi.
The event, which happened when the kiwi and zoo visitors engaged in a paid animal encounter, prompted a statement from Zoo Miami expressing its “deepest regret.”
Since then, the kiwi encounter has been taken out of the zoo’s lineup.
Pora was born in 2019 at Zoo Miami as a result of a breeding scheme designed to guarantee the survival of the kiwi species.
The flightless kiwi bird, which is revered as a national symbol in New Zealand, serves as a metaphor for the nation’s distinctive natural heritage and serves as the inspiration for the moniker given to its inhabitants.
Pora appeared noticeably agitated in videos that went popular on social media on Tuesday as people petted him beneath the lights and the bird occasionally sought to flee into the shadows.
The outrage was fast and broad in New Zealand, leading to an online petition and remarks from Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanking the zoo for listening to the public’s concerns.
At a press conference, Mr. Hipkins stated, “They’ve acknowledged what they were doing wasn’t appropriate, wasn’t right, or wasn’t fair to the kiwi.”
A zoo spokesperson admitted to “we were wrong” and said the paid visitor engagement had been “not well conceived” to radio station Radio NZ.
Communications director Ron Magill promised that the public will never handle pora again.
According to Zoo Miami, efforts are “under way” to construct a unique habitat that will give Pora the shelter he requires and teach visitors “about the amazing kiwi without any direct contact,” as Pora is typically kept out of the public’s view.
According to the Department of Conservation (Doc) of New Zealand, there are just 70,000 of these endangered birds left in the entire globe.
Kiwis are extremely uncommon to be kept in captivity because New Zealand’s conservation efforts are concentrated on protecting them from predators in their natural environments.
In order to “address some of the housing and handling concerns raised,” Doc stated that it would talk to the US Association of Zoos and Aquariums about the incident with Pora on Tuesday.