New Zealand is probably less thought about than their big next door neighbours when it comes to wildlife; but with almost 103,500 square miles of land and a population of almost 5 million, this little island is no stranger to animals.
New Zealand is famous for its Kiwis and is home to 5 species of them:
- Southern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis) Vulnerable
- Great Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx haasti) Vulnerable
- Northern Brown Kiwi (Apteryx mantelli) Endangered
- Little Spotted Kiwi (Apteryx owenii) Near Threatened
- Okarito Brown Kiwi (Apteryx rowi) Endangered
OKARITO BROWN KIWI
Although these kiwis are endangered they have an increasing population trend with around 200-250 mature individuals remaining in the wild.
The native population of the Okarito Brown Kiwi has now been restricted to 10,000ha of forest between the Okarito River and the Waiho River.
These kiwis are affected by habitat loss and predation of introduced mammals. Chicks are predated by stoats and some adults are killed by dogs and in road traffic collisions.
Operation Nest Egg has been put in place to help reduce the affects of predation. Eggs are removed from nests and the chicks are hand reared until they are large enough that they are no longer the prey of stoats.
NORTHERN BROWN KIWI
Again, these kiwis are endangered but they current have a stable population trend.
These kiwis can be found in dense, subtropical, and temperate forests but can also occasionally be found living in shrub lands.
These kiwis face threats from the predation of dogs and ferrets.
These kiwis are also a part of Operation Nest Egg.
These birds have a declining population trend with around 3300 mature individuals remaining in the wild. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List.
HABITAT AND DIET
The Kea prefer high altitude forests and alpine basins, feeding on a diet of shoots and berries.
Climate change, deforestation and killings by farmers are the most current threats to the numbers of Kea.
Kea are listed on CITES Appendix II and there is a population census planned to take place soon to get a more accurate count of the remaining individuals.
These dolphins are Endangered with around 7500 mature individuals remaining in the wild and a decreasing population trend.
HABITAT AND DIET
Hector’s Dolphins inhabit the shallow coastal waters within 15km of the shore of New Zealand; feeding on squid and several species of small fish.
The largest threat to the Hector’s Dolphin is entanglement in gill nets. Around 60% of deaths were due to entrapment in gill nets.
They are listed on CITES Appendix II and they occur mostly in protected areas (consisting of two sanctuaries).
NEW ZEALAND SEA LION
These Sea Lions are Endangered with a decreasing population trend and around 3000 mature individuals remaining in the wild.
Commercial sealing in the early 19th century until the mid-20th century depleted the population. They are also in danger from epizootic outbreaks.
The New Zealand government has protected these Sea Lions since 1881 and they are also covered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act 1978.
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