For Mental Health Awareness Week and for a bit of relief from our everyday stresses, we thought we’d share some stories from the past year that celebrate the fact that nature is well, just nature. There is lots to be concerned about in the world today, but it’s important to take some time away from the information/sensory overload that’s out there and enjoy something a bit light-hearted, positive, funny and entertaining.
Connecting with nature has been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing, so here’s a little mental health boost, our top 5 stories from the last year or so that show the lighter, positive and funnier side to nature, it’s guaranteed to make you feel good!
1) The first ever Kākāpō Cam!
Earlier on in the year we introduced you to our trial of the first ever Kākāpō Cam, an intimate live video stream following a foster parent and her chicks during the breeding season on Whenua Hoa/ Codfish Island. It was an amazing insight into one of our most taonga species and sharing it on a live stream meant raising the awareness of this endangered national icon on an international stage.
The chicks have fledged (fledged in May) and the live stream is turned off, but you can still enjoy the little fluff balls and reminisce from the past season with this neatly packed highlights reel here.
Look how cute they are!
The live stream trial lasted for only 14 days and in that time there were over 200,000 video views, roughly 15,000 views per day! With results like this, we will definitely look in to doing this live stream again, in future breeding seasons!
Find out more about the Kākāpō Cam here.
P.s. If this highlight clip wasn’t enough for you (will it ever be enough though!) here’s a special additional highlight of some chicks at The Wildlife Hospital – Dunedin, showing how mischievousness and funny little kākāpō chicks can be. Hopefully we get to see these kinds of antic on the next Kākāpō Cam!
2) Albatross Faceplant! 🤦😅
This video that will be forever etched into our hearts and minds!
Last year on the Royal Cam live stream someone captured a highlight clip of the adult parent flying in to the nest to visit it’s chick. The video basically speaks for itself, but the important thing is that we get to relive this moment, when the bird faceplants, face-ground lands or SCORPIONS – However you want to describe it or whatever you want to call it, it happened and now we all get to laugh… AGAIN!
P.S – In case you were wondering, the adult bird didn’t sustain any injuries and is doing fine! However, the chick is scarred for life (no it’s fine too).
Since this video was originally shared its gone viral around the world, with multiple news outlets sharing it including The Guardian!
Here are some of our favourite comments from people who find this just as amusing as we do!
The last comment got us good! 😬😂
Not-so-key takeaway: Like the albatross, sometimes you fall straight on your face, but not matter how experienced you are, you’ve just got to shake it off, pretend like nothing’s happened, waddle away and try again… as everybody in the world laughs at you and views your video millions of times, of course!
3) Pekepeka-toa-roa discovered in remote town
Okay, lets move away from birds for now. This isn’t a funny clumsy video or new insight to a special species. This is simply a win for nature. It’s positive stories like this that give us the warm-fuzzies inside!
Bat detectors placed in the Central North Island township of Owhango during June of 2021 found that there was a resident population of critically endangered long-tailed bats (pekapeka-tou-roa) living in the area! With some locals mentioning that they even seen bats a few times flying around at dusk!
What a fantastic result, because they weren’t there before!
These results were achieved with the help of a mix of pest control methods, including both ground based and aerial pest control, and the additional, ongoing help from community groups like Owhango Alive who maintain trapping lines.
This story recap still makes us feel really good today as it shows the serious benefits from positively intervening for our species. Working together with others and giving nature a bit of helping hand we’ve simply encouraged it to well, just be nature again, for us all to enjoy!
Ka pai tīma!
4) Seal breaks into New Zealand home
We’re all aware that seals can turn up in some unusual places, especially during the seal silly season, but last month one Tauranga family were completely surprised to come home to find a seal chilling out in their home traumatising their family cat!
and no, it wasn’t this seal.
or even this seal
We’re talking about this juvenile seal!
For awhile, this story broke the internet, with multiple, international news outlets sharing this family’s unique story.
The curious young seal entered through one of the family’s cat flaps and stayed in the home for about 90 minutes, before the home owner came home, made the discovery and ushered it outside. They then called the 08000 DOC HOT wildlife emergency hotline and reported it to the team there, and later it was safely captured, unharmed and released at the beach by one of our local DOC rangers.
Full story here
5) Daylight robbery – Kea style
Back to birds! Kea are cheeky, we all know this, but this particular one was EXTRA cheeky and pretty much robbed a family of their GoPro, when they put it down outside on the balcony of the Luxmore Hut on the Kelper Track.
Luckily the GoPro was still rolling and captured the feathered criminal red-handed.
Here’s the full video shared by USA Today.
and here’s the interview with the family’s mum.
What was captured was some of nature’s best drone photography! The unique perspective shows the travel path of the naughty kea, features another kea glide past and takes us straight to its secret hiding spot where it started taking the GoPro apart! Luckily the boy found it in time and shared the footage!
Even though this kea was naughty it really highlights the special qualities and characteristics of our native alpine parrots. They are curious, inquisitive, clever, oh-so cheeky, and can make your alpine adventures very entertaining!
We hope you’ve enjoyed these light-hearted, funny, positive and entertaining story recaps. Hopefully it’s given you some relief from the everyday stresses and has lifted you up if you were feeling flat.
We’ve got loads more stories like these from previous years, so let us know in the comments below if you’d like us to share more recaps!
Mental Health Awareness Week
This year, Mental Health Awareness Week is all about reconnecting with the people and places that lift you up! It’s been a tough couple of years and it’s been easy to feel disconnected from the people and places that are important to us.
Whether it’s reaching out to someone you have lost contact with, visiting a place that’s special to you or getting outside in nature, we hope you’ll join us this Week to reconnect with the people and places that lift you up to enhance your wellbeing.
Find out more about Mental Health Awareness Week here and check out their guide for daily activity ideas here