NEW ZEALAND: Unique wildlife

New Zealand is famous for having incredibly unique wildlife – before the arrival of humans, there were no land mammals on Aotearoa, only seals and a few bats. Because of that and the islands’ isolation, some really amazing animals evolved there, including many flightless birds. Unfortunately, when humans arrived, hunting and introduced animals devastated a lot of these species, so many are either extinct or are severely endangered. Thankfully, there are some seriously intensive conservation efforts today, including breeding programs and efforts to eradicate introduced predators.

I fell down a Youtube hole with these little clips from various documentaries and zoos on different species. First up, of course, is the national animal – the kiwi:

There’s also the kea, a parrot that lives in the mountains of the South Island – it seems incongruous to my mind for parrots to be in the snow – I always think of them as tropical animals!

I really love little blue penguins – I remember seeing them at an aquarium in New Zealand when I went as a kid and they were just to cutest little things:

More than just birds, there’s also invertebrates like the weta, the world’s largest cricket – and a descendant of Punga, the god of ugly things:

And of course, the infamous and meme-able kakapo:

There’s also the magically stunning glowworm colonies in the Waitomo caves:

There’s also some sadly notable extinctions, like the huia:

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