Bird with wonky bill inspires big project

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A small bird with a beak that hooks to the right has inspired Dr Jan Wright to continue her environmental work.  

Wright, 69, the former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, is heading up a project to restore the biodiversity in the Upper Mackenzie basin and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. 

The braided rivers in the area are home to the Wrybill, an endemic species that Wright developed a soft spot for when she reported on the state of New Zealand’s birdlife as part of her old job. 

The Wrybill, which uses its brilliantly adapted curved beak to get grubs out from under river stones, is among the 30 percent of New Zealand bird species  that are crucially endangered. 

Wright says the biodiversity of the Canterbury high country has been severely degraded by pest animals and plants. 

In this video produced by the Next foundation, a philanthropic organisation that is investing a $100 million over 10 years in environmental and educational projects, Wright talks about what needs to be done to save our native bird populations.   

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