Hihi (stitchbirds) were once found across New Zealand's North Island. They now exist in just seven isolated populations. Dr. Helen Taylor's research focuses on the impact of low genetic diversity and inbreeding on sperm health in native and introduced birds in New Zealand, and she has been assessing these parameters in hihi for two years now. During last season's fieldwork, Helen had the idea to raise funds by asking the general public to bet on which of the birds she had samples had the fastest sperm. The Great Hihi Sperm Race Fundraiser was then started, and for a period of 4 weeks, bets from across the world helped raise over 11,000$NZD for the Hihi Recovery Group, well over the goal of 10,000$NZD.
Congratulations to the hihi, to Helen, and for all that invested a little bit of their time and money to help save a native New Zealand bird species!