You have five days left to vote for the takahe as Bird of the Year 2012 – or, if you prefer (though I can’t imagine why), some other bird. And here are five reasons to do so. Several of them are even true.
1. There are only 260 takahe left, and apart from their remnant natural habitat in the Murchison Mountains, they live only in sanctuaries. They need your support.
2. Takahe are incredibly cute. Check this one out:
3. If elected, takahe will reject the baubles of offices, unless the baubles of office consist of the right sort of tussock bases, in which case the takahe will accept them faster than you can say Porphyrio hochstetteri.
4. Many of humanity’s greatest works of art are about takahe. Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” is her empathetic response to the takahe’s threatened countdown to extinction. Homer’s “Odyssey” is about a takahe called Kevin, and his twenty-year adventure to get home to his beloved Murchison Mountains. And as for Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” … well, some things are better left unsaid.
5. The Vote Takahe campaign will not stoop so low as to fill up its final reason with irrelevant but highly-ranked search terms in a misguided attempt to boost the campaign’s Google search rankings. And Rihanna, One Direction, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Nicki Minaj fully endorse our position on this.
Oh, and because you’ve been good, here are some more factual-type facts about the takahe:
• The takahē is an endangered flightless bird indigenous to New Zealand.
• Takahē once lived throughout the North and South Islands and were thought to be extinct until rediscovered by Geoffrey Orbell near Lake Te Anau in the Murchison Mountains, South Island in 1948.
• Today’s population is around 260 birds at various sites including the Murchison Mountains in Fiordland as well as the pest-free islands Tiritiri Matangi, Kapiti, Mana and Maud and mainland sanctuary of Maungatautiri, near Cambridge.
• Some takahē have lived for over 20 years in captivity, but in the wild few would live to more than 15 years of age.
• Since the 1980’s, DOC has been involved in managing takahē nests to boost the birds’ recovery. Artificial incubation of eggs and rearing of chicks is carried out at the Burwood Bush rearing unit, Te Anau, where five pairs are held to form a small breeding group.