Wildlife

Aotearoa is a beautiful country, full of rugged mountains, lush forests, stunning wetlands and off-shore islands. These areas are where thousands of unique species of flora (plants) and fauna (animals) live. Each habitat (nōhanga) lends important natural elements that are key to the survival of many animals, including species that are found nowhere else in the world! A habitat is a natural place where plants, animals, or other organisms live; it is where they call home. 


Animal Care - Wildlife

Our shared homes

From seals and dolphins, to birds, bats, insects and reptiles – many fascinating animals can be found in New Zealand.

All over our country, animals have made their homes in rivers, caves, bushes, trees, and the mountains of Aotearoa. Whether these animals have arrived well before or after us, they are all living, feeling creatures that all deserve kindness and compassion. This planet is just as much theirs as it is ours, so we owe it to them to do our best to protect their welfare, as well as be considerate and respectful of their homes and their lives!

Over the years, humans have made massive changes to the habitats in which these animals live. As our towns and cities get bigger, sadly, forests, wetlands and other habitats get smaller. When a habitat is destroyed, it makes it harder (or sometimes impossible) for the plants, animals, and organisms to continue living there.

This can be a frightening experience for animals, especially if these areas are bare and unfamiliar. Since we humans have caused these significant changes to these natural environments, we have a responsibility to step up as animal guardians to protect our wildlife in a kind and compassionate way.

These environments are these animals’ homes and are made up of living things that depend on one another, if one of these elements were to disappear, it would greatly and most often negatively affect the rest of the environment – this is why it’s so important for us to protect and promote these areas so that both animals and humans can enjoy them for decades to come.

Explore these extraordinary habitats and the animals that live there below!

Urban, Backyard, and Garden Urban, Backyard, and Garden Forest and Bush Forest and Bush Ocean, Coastal and Beaches Ocean, Coastal and Beaches Freshwater and Wetlands Freshwater and Wetlands Alpine Alpine

All animals deserve compassion.

New Zealand is full of some of the world’s most interesting animal species. These incredible animals come in all different shapes, sizes, ages, and colours. Humans have categorized these animals into mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians. Furthermore, these animals are divided into groups such as endemic (found nowhere else in the world), native (arrived here on their own), and non-native (brought here/introduced by humans).

So, for example: dogs are companion animals, cows are farmed animal, a kiwi is endemic, a black-backed gull is native, and a possum is a wild animal that is a non-native/introduced species.

Regardless of the name and label humans have given them, all animals are sentient beings. This means they all have an awareness of their feelings and emotions. These could be negative feelings such as pain, frustration and fear, or feelings of comfort, enjoyment, happiness, and even excitement and joy.

New Zealand law (Animal Welfare Act 1999) recognizes animals as sentient. As such, we cannot mistreat any animal. We must show each individual respect, kindness, and compassion.

So, what is compassion?

Compassion is caring about others. When you show compassion, it means you are giving help to those in need, in a kind and caring way.

How will you help these animals in a kind and compassionate way?

“Never forget that you make a difference every day. And you have a choice as to what sort of difference you make.” – Jane Goodall

 

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Pekapeka (bats) are the only living land mammal native to New Zealand.

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Māui dolphins are the smallest species of dolphin in the world.

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Hamilton’s frogs do not croak.

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Tuatara have been around since the dinosaurs.

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Possums care for their babies in their pouch for about 4-5 months.

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Piwakawaka use their broad tails to help them change directions quickly while in the air to catch insects.

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Weka love shiny objects.

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Little Blue Penguins have an average depth dive of 5-14 metres.

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New Zealand is home to the only bird in the world that has their nostrils on the end of their beak – the kiwi.

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New Zealand sea lions usually dive about 130 metres to fish, though they are capable of diving an incredible 600 metres.

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Tuatara can live to be over 100 years old.

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Of all the parrot species in the world, kākāpō are the heaviest.

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Pūkeko are great swimmers, even though they don’t have webbed feet!

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Kārearea, or New Zealand falcons, are fast flyers and are able to reach speeds of over 100 km/h.

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The rarest native fish in New Zealand is the lowland longjaw galaxias.

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The extinct South Island giant moa measured up to 2 metres high at the back, and could reach about 3.6 metres off the ground, making them the tallest bird species known!

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Geckos are unable to blink so they have to lick their eyes to prevent them from becoming too dry.