Archives For native species

How can you tell if a slug is native to New Zealand? By checking if its patterning looks like the veins on leaves. 

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We look back at our native species that have captured the attention of the internet world this year.

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By DOC’s Kiersten McKinley, based in South Canterbury

Fingers went numb and noses turned bright red as DOC staff caught kakī/black stilts this morning. It was the first fine day after a southerly blast and the birds were off on an adventure!

Nine staff were needed to catch 43 sub-adult kakī from the Captive Breeding Centre aviaries located in Twizel. The birds were being released today into the Tasman Riverbed near Lake Pukaki – but first they had to be caught!

A DOC ranger removes a kakī caught in a net.

A DOC ranger carefully extracts one of the sub-adult kaki from a net

Armed with large soft nets and a slow, purposeful stride each ranger waited patiently for a young bird to rest on the aviary floor. It’s unhurried and cautious work – one fast or sudden move and these fragile birds could end up with a serious injury. Some of the birds managed to get their bills poked through the soft capture nets so another ranger was flagged to assist in the delicate extraction operation. The long, slender bill of a kakī actually has tiny, fine serrations on it which makes it fabulous for getting caught in nets!

Two kakī are held before being transported and released.

Smiles all round – these kaki look to be in good hands!

Once caught each bird underwent a thorough health check and was carefully weighed. A sub-adult bird is nine months of age and the majority of birds weighed around 200 grams – less than half a tub of margarine! What they lack in weight though they more than make up for in spirit. These are feisty birds and they were certainly ready to spread their wings!

DOC Ranger Liz Brown moving a kakī.

DOC Aviaculturist Liz Brown spends a lot of time looking after the kakī

All the kakī were placed into sturdy plywood boxes and then transported to the release site where they were set free by local school children and interested members of the public.

School students releasing kakī into the wild.

The kakī are released into the wild.


Take part in a kakī release:

Two kakī releases are scheduled every year around August or September. If you would like to attend the next one email DOC Ranger Cody Thyne. It’s a wonderful experience and a chance to see these rare birds up close.

Kiwis are kea…

Siobhan File —  23/09/2011

Well, it seems a lot of them are anyway. A week after DOC put this very scientific native species determination chart up, nearly 3,000 people have completed it and the comments show most people are kea!

Have you found out what New Zealand native species you are? If so, tell us here!

Your thoughts so far…

Classic kea behaviour

“Kea all the way… WHOOP!” says Ian Martin about his result. Eighteen others agreed with him.

Being a kakapo, it seems right that (of the choices given) Sirocco’s closest match was the kea too. Although, his friend Oliver Christensen commented that he’d always fancied him as a rare shag! Touché Oliver.

The morepork/ruru was a popular outcome as well, and being quite spiritual, the night owls’ comments showed that they definitely felt a significant connection with their results.

Cute

Leanne Denz says, “Oooh! Apparently I am a Morepork – have always felt a fondness for those birds and it always feels like home when I hear them!”

And Lisa Miller says, “I’m a morepork… Got it twice (I started in wrong place first time!) so I guess it must be true… Always have been a bit of a night owl…”

Pamela Glading was happy with her result, “I’m a Ruru too and very flattered and happy about that! I think they are wise and wonderful, and I love to hear them call out to their friends.”

Slow and steady wins the race

While Pichi Pie even learnt something from the experience! “I’m a morepork =D! I didn’t know this animal before. It’s cute =D.”

There were a couple of tuatara, and two southern right whales, although Meri C Fox-Szauter wasn’t too happy with her result, “Well, oh boo of boos, I’m a southern right whale.”

And @greengecko29 says “I am a Southern right whale… not sure what I think about that. Beyond a fear of sharp harpoony things.” Poor southerns!

Just keeping on keeping on

But where are the mighty kauri trees? Not a single person has commented on their likeness to the proud and reliable characters. These people have a good head on their shoulders, and stay true to their roots!

It could be that they are too busy looking after all the people in their homes, or using their strength and height… lifting heavy things to high places? Or perhaps they’re just extra rare.

The perfect place to take shelter and move on in

Anyway, DOC wants to record people’s results to get some official quantitative scientific data to go with the qualitative research your comments have provided us with! If you used the chart last week, enter your result below. Otherwise, find out what New Zealand native species you are and then come back to tell us. Thanks!