Monday, October 18, 2010

NZ's Words on a Wing Campaign brought to Nagoya

Pacific Voyage Media Team

19 October Nagoya, Japan - “Let’s save New Zealand’s biodiversity” is the message that resonates from a giant kakapo bird that welcomes delegates into the side events venue at the CBD COP10’s Nagoya Congress Centre.

The giant kakapo, made from mesh with pieces of paper glued to it to resemble the endangered flightless bird, brings to Nagoya messages on biodiversity conservation from some 20 000 New Zealand school children. Titled “Words on a Wing Campaign,” the kakapo is the centerpiece of New Zealand’s Department on Conservation’s (DOC) efforts to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity.

Words on a Wing Campaign

According to Andrew Bignell, from the NZ Department of Conservation, the campaign is one of DOC’s main projects for the International Year of Biodiversity.

“The kakapo is such a wonderful symbol for the notion of biodiversity conservation because it is a friendly, ground dwelling parrot and we believe that the fact there are only 124 left in the world, would appeal to school children,” said Mr Bignell.

So how did the mesh kakapo travel around New Zealand and all the way to Japan?

The Words on a Wing campaign was launched in May to give young people a voice on Biodiversity.

Two giant mesh kakapo visited schools, museums and zoos carrying messages from young New Zealanders about why biodiversity matters, what they want world leaders to do about its loss and what they are doing themselves. More than 20 000 feather messages make up the birds’ plumage and many schools and community groups have also made their own kakapo creation.

Not all schools were lucky enough to be visited by the giant birds.

“These schools instead made a large poster of the bird, covered with feathers,” explained Mr Bignell.

One of these posters will be presented to Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD’s Executive Secretary, on Thursday.
The kakapo is a large, flightless, nocturnal parrot. With mottled moss green feathers, camouflage is the bird’s main form of defense.

The recovery programme aims to establish at least one self sustaining population of kakapo in a protected habitat and to establish two or more other populations that may require ongoing management.

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