Takahe are critically endangered

Orokonui Ecosanctuary

In which Miles enjoys the unique flora and fauna of Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

To view the full gallery of 37 pictures on imgur, click  here.

Orokonui park and Visitor Centre
Orokonui park and Visitor Centre

Orokonui Ecosanctuary is an ecological island wildlife reserve developed by the Otago Natural History Trust in the Orokonui Valley near Waitati, New Zealand, 20 km to the north of central Dunedin.

Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosanctuary

It sounded like a good place to enjoy a nice walk, and a chance to see some of New Zealand’s rarer plants and birds, and some other animals.  Takahe, shown below, are critically endangered, but the five at Orokonui are not especially shy.

Takahe are critically endangered
Takahe

A sculpture of Tāne Mahuta, “Lord of the Forest” in the Māori pantheon, watches over the skink house. Where they live.  The skinks.

Tāne Mahuta watches over endangered Otago Skinks
Tāne Mahuta watches over endangered Otago Skinks

The Otago skink, Oligosoma otagense, is an endangered species of large skink of the family Scincidae, found in the central Otago region of New Zealand.

Otago Skink
Otago Skink
Otago Skink
Otago Skink

I was hoping to see tuatara, but none showed themselves.  The most recent common ancestor of the tuatara with any other extant group is with the squamates (lizards and snakes). For this reason, tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits of the earliest diapsids (the group that also includes birds, dinosaurs, and crocodiles).  Below is a photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A Tuatara, in Waikanae, New Zealand - from Wikimedia Commons
A Tuatara, in Waikanae, New Zealand – from Wikimedia Commons

Orokonui claims the tallest tree in New Zealand, the Australian mountain ash shown below.

Australian mountain ash
Australian mountain ash

The Easter Orchid was in bloom and smelling heavenly.

Easter Orchid
Easter Orchid

Orokonui was as advertised, a good place to enjoy a nice walk, and a chance to see some rare plants and animals.  I’ve included some pictures below, but to view the full gallery of 37 pictures on imgur, click  here.

New Zealand bellbird/korimako/makomako
New Zealand bellbird/korimako/makomako
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Tūī
Tūī
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Robin/kakaruai
Robin/kakaruai
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Tomtit/miromiro
Tomtit/miromiro
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosanctuary
New Zealand pigeon/kūkupa/kererū
New Zealand pigeon/kūkupa/kererū

To view the full gallery of 37 pictures on imgur, click  here.

#Orokonui, #Ecosanctuary, #Dunedin

 

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