New Zealand Wildlife

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Being a conservation biologist I am lucky enough to be able to get close and observe many of New Zealand’s wildlife in their natural environment. New Zealand’s natural history is a very unique one. The historic lack of mammals allowed the animals which were here thousands of years ago, mostly reptiles, birds and insects, to diversify and fill ecological niches that would have elsewhere been taken up by mammals. This, and the existence of few natural predators, led to the extraordinary array of creatures that we see in New Zealand today. Many are also endemic – being found only in New Zealand and nowhere else. Some of New Zealand’s birds, such as kiwi, takahe, and kakapo became flightless as the need to take flight to escape predators became unnecessary. Many species also slowed down their rates of reproduction, reaching sexual maturity later in life, and producing fewer offspring.

Then along came humans, and with them came the mammals. Dogs, cats, rats, mice, stoats and possums wreaked havoc on native species by destroying native trees, and eating eggs and chicks of birds, and preying upon populations of lizards and insects. These species, with their slow reproductive rates, can not breed fast enough to replace the numbers being lost, and many are now in decline or endangered.

Luckily, Kiwi’s are very proud of their heritage, and conservation efforts to save this unique fauna are immense and on-going, with many people taking time out of their own lives to volunteer and help save native species, so that these animals can be around for future generations. There have been many success stories of saving a species from the brink of extinction (see the Chatham Island robin). Conservation is big in New Zealand, and with so many iconic species, it’s not hard to see why. These photographs aim to capture the uniqueness of some of New Zealand’s species as you would find them in their natural environment.


One Response to “New Zealand Wildlife”

  1. just stunning……
    well done

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