|View of Wellington from the top of Wrights Hill, 400 meters above the Sea|
|Final climb to the top of Wrights Hill. It does not get much steeper than this.|Takahe is a flightless bird, which was thought
to be extinct after the last four known specimens were taken in 1898. However,
after a carefully planned search effort the bird was rediscovered 50 years
later. Only about 300 Takahe are alive
In the afternoon we drove back to where I had started my day: Zealandia Sanctuary and Nature Reserve. Dirt trails meander through an entire valley where one can see some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, reptiles, and insects living wild in their natural environment.
The reserve is surrounded by a massive 8.6 kilometer, 2.2 meter fence that took 3 years to develop and 5 months to build. The fence’s purpose is to keep out predators such as cats, rats, and other mammals (none of which were native to New Zealand) that have decimated New Zealand’s ecosystem since arriving with the first people 1280 years ago.
Zealandia is not a zoo where one is guaranteed to see the fiercest animals safely stored away behind bars. It is much better than that: it is a nature sanctuary with a 500-year vision.
The animals living here are all threatened, many of them almost extinct, and one can walk right through their natural habitat. Visitors have to invest some time to spot them and are unlikely to see them all, but all this makes the experience more interesting and rewarding.
|These Cave Weta belong to a group of about 70 Weta insect species endemic to New Zealand. Weta are nocturnal. These ones lived on the ceiling of an abandoned goldmine.|