Species you may see in and around Dunedin
Nineteen young kiwi roam a hillside within the Dunedin area for the first time in 130 years. Orokonui Ecosanctuary hosts these nocturnal birds within a 307 hectare predator proof fenced forest looking over Blueskin Bay.
The world's smallest penguin, the blue penguin (also known as little blue penguin) stand just over 25 cm and weigh around 1 kg and also call the Otago Peninsula and wider Dunedin region home.
The most common seal on the New Zealand mainland is the New Zealand fur seal which can be found in abundance on the Otago Peninsula and wider Dunedin surroundings.
Formerly known as the hookers sea lion, these amazing mammals are very endangered and only found in New Zealand. They are one of the rarest species of sea lion in the world and arguably the most threatened because of their declining numbers and restricted breeding range. They are very protective of their patch, so remember to give them their space and keep your distance.
At the end of the Otago Peninsula on Taiaroa Head (only 32 kms from the city centre), is home to the only mainland breeding colony of albatross in the world, the northern royal albatross. These magnificent birds have a 3 metre wingspan and can travel over 100km an hour.
The very rare South Island Kākā are the most colourful of all New Zealand parrots and is easily seen at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
These flightless giant rails were thought to be extinct until 1948 when a small remnant population was discovered in the Murchison Mountains of Fiordland. A few takahē roam free in Orokonui Ecosanctuary.
This distinctive reptile is not a dinosaur but the sole survivor of a 230 million-year-old group of reptiles that have disappeared elsewhere about 100 million years ago. Seventy-eight tuatara now live in the wild at Orokonui Ecosanctuary thanks to a gift from Ngati Koata.
The Otago Peninsula is home to one of the world’s rarest penguins the yellow-eyed penguin, or hoiho (its Maori name, which means noise shouter). The yellow-eyed penguin gets its name from its distinct yellow head band and yellow iris.
Stewart Island shags, little shags, spotted shags, bullers albatross, white capped albatross, southern royal albatross, pied stilts, variable oystercatchers, sooty shearwaters, spoonbills, and giant petrels ... all can be found on the Otago Peninsula and wider Dunedin coastline. Many of these can be seen offshore on a cruise with Monarch Wildlife Cruises & Tours.
Nestled between bush and hills and girdled by food-rich offshore currents, Dunedin has achieved the reputation as the wildlife capital of New Zealand.
Read the full article by Paul Sorrell, local photographer and writer.