Day #3: Wild Eyes
You have now woken up after a long, comfortable sleep at your hotel in Dargaville. You’re ready for another day of adventuring! Today, you will drive around the North island and be introduced to amazing animals that live here in New Zealand. Some are native and some are non-native. Native animals are animals that normally live in New Zealand. Non-native animals are animals that were brought into New Zealand from another country. Examples of native New Zealand animals are the kakapo, the kiwi, the kea parrot, the yellow eyed penguin and the pekapeka bat.
Activity 1: Curious Kiwi, a native New Zealand bird, is your tour guide for today. He is going to take you to visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park where many of his aunties and uncles currently live. The bird park is a five hour drive from Dargaville so you hit the road right after breakfast and arrive in Otorohanga at lunch time. As you walk through the birdhouse you learn about the work being done to conserve and protect the native birds of New Zealand. You decide to help out by ‘adopting’ a native animal. Visit the ‘Adopt a Critter page’ on the Otorohanga bird house website to choose one animal to adopt. On your blog, tell us the name of the animal that you chose and a little bit about them. What kind of animal are they? What do they eat? Where do they normally live? You can use Google to help you with your research.
Answer: The New Zealand pigeon or kereru. Māori call it kererū in most of the country but kūkupa and kūkū in some parts of the North Island. The New Zealand pigeon belongs to the family Columbidae and the subfamily Treroninae. They feed largely on fruits, mainly drupes.
Activity 2: After your great visit to the Otorohanga bird house it is time to hop back onto the bus and head towards the Hawke’s Bay – your resting place for the evening. Hawke’s Bay is a beautiful region of New Zealand. It is known for its wineries and gorgeous scenery. When you arrive in Napier, the largest city in the region, you go for a walk through Waitangi Regional Park and notice that many of the leaves on the native trees have been damaged. Curious Kiwi tells you that they were damaged by possums, non-native predators, from Australia. People in New Zealand are working hard to trap and kill these predators. Their goal is to remove all of the possums (and other predators) by 2050. Go to the ‘Predator Free 2050 website’ to read more about their work.
On your blog, tell us whether you agree that New Zealand should be predator free. In your opinion, is it right to kill all of the predators (eg. possums) or should we just leave them alone? On your blog tell us what you think and give us, at least, three reasons why you think this way.
- I think we should kill possums because they are pests. Pests attack crops, food, livestock etc. They also eat nectar and berries which mean less food for birds.
- The adult possums eat New Zealand's native birds.
- The damage a possum causes costs New Zealand farmers about $35 million each year.