New Zealand’s Biodiversity is unique and a large number of our species can be found nowhere else in the World.

In Kaikōura, there is a wide range of important native species and ecosystems. Kaikōura is well-known for its NZ fur seals, whales and dolphins. It is also home to twelve native lizard species including the unusual black-eyed gecko and almost a quarter of the native plant species in the country. The last two surviving colonies of Hutton’s Shearwater breed here along with 30 other indigenous bird species.

There are a number of taonga species recognised throughout New Zealand. Taonga species are native birds, plants and animals of special cultural significance and importance to Māori, and specifically Ngāi Tahu throughout most of Te Wai Pounamu (South Island) and the islands to the south including Rakiura (Stewart Island). Check out a list of taonga birds and marine mammals here.

Biodiversity in Kaikōura

Responsible cat ownership

Estimates suggest New Zealand’s 1.4 million domestic cats kill at least 18.76 million animals a year, including over 1.1 million native birds.

Cats only bring back on average 1 in 5 kills, so even if it seems that your cat isn’t bringing home many birds to show you, chances are it’s killing a lot more.

Being a responsible cat owner can greatly reduce your cat’s impact on our wildlife.

Sharing our coasts with Kaikōura’s seabirds

The busy summer season means more boats and jet skis are on the water, along with recreational fishers. During this time our wildlife is at greater risk of being injured or accidentally killed and particularly as it is breeding season.

However, if everyone does their bit to be a responsible vessel operator and fisherman or woman, we can help protect Kaikōura’s at risk wildlife.

Seabirds such as penguins and shags that are struck by watercraft can sustain horrific head and spinal injuries taking months to recover or causing instant death. The same can happen if you discard your fishing lines and hooks in the sea or on our beaches. Discarded fishing gear causes too many unnecessary seabird deaths, please respect our unique marine environment.

Follow these easy tips to ensure you and our wildlife stay safe on the water this summer:

  1. If you are operating watercraft, always be on the lookout for seabirds on the water surface which have come up from dives, especially around the Kaikōura Peninsula and when close to shore.
  2. Adhere to the 5 knot speed limit within 200m of the shoreline.
  3. Never discard your hooks or fishing lines in the sea or on beaches, take them home with you and dispose of appropriately. 
  4. When enjoying the Kaikōura coast leave nothing behind and take all rubbish with you.
  5. If you accidentally catch a seabird whilst fishing – do not cut the line and let the bird go, ensure you take the bird to your local vet clinic immediately to have hooks removed.

Take a look at our flyer here 

Photo credit: Sabrina Luecht, Kaikoura Wildlife Rescue

Images courtesy of Fairlie Atkinson

06 December 2018