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In these dark days before Christmas, Jean-Pierre Keelan needs a bright spot more than ever. He finds it in the form of two dust balls. Two young Kiwis found a miracle in New Zealand’s capital.
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It’s certainly not every day that the birth of two birds makes world news. That miracle happened this week. The New York Times vividly described how two young Kiwis were found near Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. What’s special is that it hasn’t happened in 150 years – I’ll explain later.
You might think of kiwis as the brown, hairy fruits on supermarket shelves. There is another kiwi, and it is a bird. New Zealand’s ‘national bird’ is the only country in the world where it lives. Yes, that kiwi looks just like that supermarket kiwi. The question ‘which came first: the kiwi or the egg’ can finally be answered simply: the egg. Because it is not the name of the fruit that resembles that fruit to the bird, but the fruit by the name of the bird.
So two young men were found. A conservationist reached into a hole at the base of a fern bush last week and found clumps of feathers, The New York Times reported. I quote: ‘Dazzled by the light of day, the chocolate-colored night bird waved its pencil-like beak back and forth. “You’re fine,” reassured the security guard in unadulterated movie parlance. A few minutes later, a second young man emerged from the cave, again relying on standard paper – and fell into the arms of the guard.
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The kiwi is a slightly different duck: the shy nocturnal bird has the whiskers of a rat and the legs of a dinosaur. Its nostrils are not at the top, but at the end of its long beak. The eggs, in human proportions, are about the size of a three-year-old toddler. Then you ask the problem.
So they came. By humans of course. Since 1800, exotic predators have been released against rabbits, which were previously released there, but which turned to destroy sheep pastures. Ermines and mice also enjoyed kiwis: of the 12 million ‘national birds’ now only 68 thousand remain. A 40-centimeter-tall animal cannot fly; Now it’s about to fall even more.
Of course that’s not possible. And so those pesky stoats and rats were exterminated again from 2016. Last year when the coast near Wellington appeared safe, 60 wild kiwi were released there. To protect them, five thousand hunting traps are placed around them.
You may question such hopeless tinkering with nature. I do that too, but not now. In these dark days before Christmas, I need a brighter place than ever.
Because these are dark days: a leaden-grey cloud has been hanging over the Hague where I live for weeks. Forecasters fear the worst for Mother Nature. In such dire times, every straw is a ray of hope.
Those two little balls in New Zealand are miracles of resilience. And there are miracles; If you want to believe it. Because no matter how many things go wrong in nature, they also go right. Check out the resurrection of our otter, otter, sea eagle and wolf.
Almost Christmas – time for a high mass, a hymn to the resurrection of nature. So, dear church members gathered early this Sunday morning: let us worship. Rejoice over these new children on earth. We’re not lost yet, because Kiwis were born – hallelujah, hello. Two kiwis were born in a box full of hay.
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