Survey: Kiwi, Kauri or Kahukura?

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    A question for you: if you were able to save only one of the three species from extinction, which would be the most important to save, and why?

    * Kiwi

    * Kauri

    * Kahukura

    I would love to see a variety of answers, so don’t be afraid… speak up!

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    I see your point Jacqui. Wouldn’t it be terrific to find a way to give greater exposure to our lepidoptera. Not many people are aware of them at all:/ Many older people remember them because there were more around when we were all a lot younger.



    Yes, we hope we’re never faced with making a choice.

    I worded my original post so badly. The point I was trying to make was that we all recognise the Kiwi and Kauri tree – even recent arrivals in our country would be aware of them – but aren’t our butterflies and moths and insects as important?

    Kiwi and Kauri have had their PR committes hard at work for the last 20? 30? 50? years, and so corporates (to some extent) have jumped on board and are helping them. I do wish we could make more headway on educating another 4 million New Zealanders of the importance of our invertebrate species.




    Putting Kauri second probably indicates my plant bias, and having no Kiwis is unthinkable. I love butterflies and cannot justify my decision at all – what a dreadful choice if one had to make it!



    This is the point I was trying to make – see this story in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper. I will post both the link and the full article here:

    Butterflies ‘more endangered than tigers’

    Bumblebees, beetles and butterflies are at greater risk of extinction than lions and tigers, according to a global study by the Zoological Society of London.

    By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph (UK)

    10:00PM BST 30 Aug 2012

    The biggest study of invertebrates ever conducted found that one in five is at risk of dying out. This can affect humans by threatening crops and food supplies.

    Prof Jonathan Baillie, the director of conservation at the Zoological Society, said insects, slugs and snails may not be as glamorous as lions or dolphins but are just as important to providing the food we eat and the countryside we love.

    ?These critters form the basis of many of the essential benefits that nature provides; earthworms recycle waste nutrients, coral reefs support a myriad of life forms and bees help pollinate crops,? he said. ?If they disappear, humans could soon follow.?

    In Britain, critically endangered invertebrates include species of bumblebee that keep the countryside full of flowers and freshwater pearl mussels that filter the water in our rivers. The society blamed pollution, loss of habitat and climate change for killing off invertebrates and urged the public to take action by demanding that food is farmed in a more sustainable way and growing insect-friendly plants in their garden. Previous international studies have focused on groups of animals such as mammals and birds. As invertebrates make up 97 per cent of species, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the UN body in charge of ensuring that animals do not become extinct, asked the society to lead a new study. More than 12,000 species, from giant squid to midges, were studied around the world. There are 1.5 million known invertebrates, although eight million species are thought to exist even if not yet discovered.

    Prof Baillie said scientists were shocked by the results. ?We knew that roughly one fifth of vertebrates and plants were threatened with extinction, but it was not clear if this was representative of the small spineless creatures that make up the majority of life on the planet,? he said. ?The initial findings in this report indicate that 20 per cent of all species may be threatened.?

    The most threatened group are freshwater invertebrates because of the invasive signal crayfish from America. Dams and pollution from nitrates used in fertilisers on fields have also played a part.

    Marine species, including foods such as shrimp, squid and crab, are most at risk of ocean acidification, which threatens shell-building molluscs and coral.

    Insects on land are being driven out by human development such as cities and pollution caused by cars and factories. All species are in danger from further habitat loss caused by climate change.

    Prof Baillie said that invertebrates help store carbon at the bottom of the ocean, filter water, decompose waste, pollinate important crops and are an essential part of the food ?web?, ultimately feeding hundreds of millions of people.

    Even pests have a place in the ecosystem, he said. ?We ignore the loss of invertebrates at our peril, as they provide many of the ecosystem services from which humans benefit.?

    What are your thoughts?



    red cloak , red butterfly

    makes sense 🙂



    Kiwi and Red Admiral butterflies both rely on preservation of habitat, which slowly reduces as the human race expands and uses more and more land for housing, industry etc.
    While our Red Admiral is endemic, there are other species Red Admiral around the world but the Kiwi is unique in the animal world, besides being our national Icon. Although I am a butterfly fanatic I would have to vote for the Kiwi.



    Heather, THANK YOU!

    The third one is the Red Admiral. I recently spent three hours in garden centres in Tauranga asking people who came in a few questions about butterflies. It confirmed what I had always thought: that most people in NZ (unless they’re into conservation) don’t know about any other butterflies besides the Monarch and the Cabbage White.

    Most people could name one butterfly, and when prompted it was usually the Monarch and they did of course recognise the Cabbage White when I prompted them. (A few it was the other way around.) But only three could name a few other butterflies.

    Now, that you know the third animal above is the Red Admiral… what are your thoughts everyone? Is any one species more important than the others.

    Of course it would be tragic if we were to lose any of those species. But at least our native caterpillars also provide food for Kiwis and other birds. What “purpose” do Kauris have that benefits other natives? Besides losing a species, what else would be affected if Kiwis died out? And are there other purposes in a butterfly species?

    Just throwing it out there…



    Kiwi, a unique bird , we can replace the Kauri with the Australian ones

    Too hard to decide really not sure what the third one is, google gives me a red cloak ?

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