Done with flora, onto fauna.
There are no native land mammals in New Zealand. When the Maori people arrived 500 years ago, they introduced the rat and dog. NZ now has Australian opossum, stoats (like weasels), mice, wild pigs (boar), cats, dogs and a couple of other very hungry creatures. They, of course, prey upon the ground nesting and flightless birds of the islands. (Even their two native birds of prey are ground nesters.) There is a nationwide attempt to reduce the number of these predators. Our eco lodge employs “Robbie, the Pig Hunter”. He comes up on weekends with friends to hunt pigs. In the last 18 months, they have harvested 200 pigs!! There are also a variety of poison traps throughout government controlled lands and properties of conscientious private landowners.
Many such traps can be seen while hiking on the islands. Some hiking photos.
Our first encounter with the New Zealand pigeon was at the aforementioned aviary. Evidently, that particular bird thought that Todd’s hair was either good nesting material or a threat. Hence, the full swoop and head attack. Now, this bird is really big, and we enjoyed seeing many of them in the wild, who were not inclined to attack Todd.
There are , of course, many sheep on the islands. (As in, as far as the eye can see.)
Our farm stay raised primarily Merino (pink nose sheep). Upon shearing, The wool is graded according to fiber width in microns, and sold mostly to Icebreaker (which has been recently purchased by Smart Wool).
At our second eco lodge we were able to see Fiordland Crested Penguins. No photos, but this is the beautiful beach where they come ashore.
At this lodge on Lake Moeraki, we had a great day to go kayaking.
We went to the Royal Albatross center where we were able to see the Royal Albatross, Little Blue Penguins (smallest in the world), and many other nesting birds.
These are red billed gulls. Duh.
One of the most picturesque places we went was the Nugget Point Lighthouse. We saw both NZ fur seals and NZ sea lions.
Selfie at one of many waterfalls!