When you sound like an adorable squeaky toy, and look this cute, we would have thought more would have heard of the Kakī Stilt. However, we didn't know of this little bird until early last year. This was due to our looking for a worthy wee cause to support with our next Cause design. The fact that there is only 106 of these critically endangered wading birds left, however, is probably the reason most of us have never seen one.
The Kakī live only in small pockets of the South Island: in the braided rivers and wetlands of the Mackenzie Basin where they are easily disturbed, their nests destroyed. These little guys have been intensively managed since 1981 when their population declined to a low of just 23 birds! With the help of a captive breeding centre, the Kakī Recovery Programme has bolstered their numbers to over one hundred. Wohoo!
More? A bird-loving, local conservation Guru, Ailie Suzuki describes the rarest wading bird in the world: "...they are super dainty looking but are hardy as (nails). When all other stilts head for the sea during winter, these guys will be surviving the worst of the cold with frost hanging off their beaks. Their biggest threats are predation of young/eggs, destruction of braided river systems and people."
Late last year, the fruit of our collaboration with the talented artist, Flox, came about in the production of our fair trade, organic Kakī Stilt t-shirt. We've loved telling our customers about this social little bird and hope that raising awareness of them will have a positive impact in supporting the conservation of their species.