Four beats to freedom - a horseback journey through New Zealand

New Zealand - The Flora and Fauna

In terms of its wildlife, visiting New Zealand is the next best thing to visiting another planet.   With 80 million years of isolation, high percentages of New Zealand's plant, bird, animal and reptilian species are found nowhere else on earth.

One of the last places to be settled by man (about 1,000 years ago), the changes since then have been fairly devastating.  The first casualties were New Zealand's larger bird species, including all 11 species of the giant flightless moa.  While ongoing habitat loss is still a serious problem, introduced weeds and animal pests are now the biggest threat.  Introduced pests include possums, stoats, feral cats, rats, deer and goats.


The Kocako 
The only surviving member of the endemic New Zealand wattlebirds (Callaeidae) family still living on the mainland.

The Giant Weta
There are more than more than 100 different species of Weta, all of them endemic to New Zealand. They have hardly changed in190 million years.



The Kiwi
New Zealand's national icon.  It cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers and long whiskers. Largely nocturnal, it burrows in the ground, is the only bird known to have nostrils at the end of its bill and literally sniffs out food.

The New Zealand Fur Seal
This seal dives deeper and longer than any other fur seal.  It is found throughout New Zealand, western and southern Australia and is fully protected from man (although not from sharks and killer whales.)

Learn more about New Zealand's flora and fauna at the 
excellent Department of Conservation site

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