In what has become an unofficial tradition, we countdown the most visited species on the DOC website for 2016. Let’s take a look:
Kererū can measure up to 51 cm from tail to beak, and weigh about 650 g. Over 11,900 kererū were spotted as part of the annual Great Kereru Count this year!
It’s great to see the bellbird/korimako on our list. With summer underway you can expect to hear their chorus in a tree near you. Captain Cook described the birds as sounding ‘like small bells exquisitely tuned’. Listen to the bellbird sing here.
12. Kekeno/fur seal
Kekeno haven’t had the best year. As a result of the Kaikoura Earthquake, a colony at Ohau Point looked to be destroyed. However, there’s hope for the colony after a large number of pups were seen nearby.
Encouraging news! Hundreds of new born pups have been seen north of where the Ohau Point landslide fell. These pups would have been born since the November 14 earthquake near Kaikoura. We won’t be able to start assessing the long-term impacts on seals, seabirds and marine mammals until our researchers can access the Ohau area and look first hand. Happy Friday!
Life got a whole lot easier for little blue penguins this year with the introduction of the penguin underpass in Oamaru. This underpass helps provide safe passage for the penguins from the harbour to their nests across the busy road. It’s already very popular!
The Wellington green gecko is threatened and is classified as being in gradual decline. It is only found in the southern half of the North Island. In September, Wellington City Council announced their partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council and NEXT Foundation to work towards the goal of making Wellington, New Zealand’s first predator-free city. #PredatorFree2050
Fancy tūī in your garden this summer? You can plant a variety of native trees and shrubs to provide a year-round food supply for tūī. Plants need to be carefully selected so there are flowers and fruit at different times. Tūī can also be attracted to feed at troughs full of sugar-water.
Pīwakawaka make the countdown at number 9. The fantail is one of the few native bird species in New Zealand that has been able to adapt to an environment greatly altered by humans. Originally a bird of open native forests and scrub, it is now also found in exotic plantation forests, in orchards and in gardens!
7. Maui dolphin
Research and scientific studies continue to increase our knowledge about Māui dolphin ecology, conservation status, life history, and threats. The information is required to ensure that Māui dolphin can be managed for their long-term viability and recovery throughout their natural range.
If you are in the North Island and think you’ve seen a Māui or Hector’s dolphin this summer, report it straight away to our emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).
When giant weta/wetapunga are fully grown, they can even be heavier than a mouse or sparrow. Here’s DOC’s Threatened Species Ambassador, Nicola Toki on a recent visit to Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island.
A great fact: They can turn their head through 270 degrees.
As featured on the New Zealand Herald, Otago University scientists have spent the last 5 years sequencing the tuatara’s entire genome. In an unexpected twist, the tuatara genome carried ancient links to the mammalian tree from which humans come from.
It’s no surprise that our kiwi come in at number 3. In July, the Government announced the adoption of the Predator Free New Zealand 2050 target to help kiwi and our other natives thrive.
Ridding New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 is a New Zealand-wide goal. It will require new techniques and a co-ordinated team effort across communities, iwi, and the public and private sectors.
Our only native land mammal comes in at number two. This year, the Battle for our Birds programme has been underway to protect our most vulnerable native species, including pekapeka.
Colin O’Donnell talks here about the success of the Battle for our Birds programme on bat populations:
1. Toroa/Northern royal albatross
The northern royal albatross #RoyalCam at Taiaroa Head as captivated the hearts and minds of YouTube watchers worldwide. Communities have watched Moana get her name, grow up, and make her first flight out to sea. Thanks for the memories Moana.
— Sirocco Kākāpō (@Spokesbird) June 8, 2016