It is difficult for people who travel to New Zealand for the first time not to be attracted by its unique scenery and diverse species. There are many interesting animals and rare plants on this remote island far away from the mainland, which was last “encountered” by humans.
New Zealand has become “animal and plant paradise” because there are no “beasts” such as venomous snakes and native large mammals. In this country that violates Darwin’s survival rule of “survival of the fittest, survival of the fittest”, forget about flying birds, naive rare penguins, sea elves that come and go at any time, and ancient large crocodile lizards, together depicting the beauty unique to New Zealand contour.
Talent and hard work
Why are there no beasts in New Zealand?
This starts with the “age” of the island of New Zealand. About 100 million years ago, New Zealand separated from the supercontinent. This small area that once sank to the bottom of the sea became a new land, New Zealand, after the water receded. Although 100 million years have been spent on evolution, New Zealand is still too young compared to other vibrant ancient continents following the evolutionary route from fish to reptiles and then to landing. This young island cannot independently evolve “natural enemies” such as large beasts. The surrounding ocean has formed a natural barrier. Snakes and beasts from nearby continents cannot swim over, and safe “isolation” becomes possible.
But in fact, Australia near New Zealand is also facing the sea on all sides, but there are very venomous species such as the giant snake, the long-nosed sea snake, the eastern brown snake, and the Australian tiger snake.
Why are there no venomous snakes in New Zealand with similar environmental conditions?
About 50 million years ago, the land parcels of New Zealand and Australia were separated. This “separation of families” has created a completely different appearance in the geographical and climatic environment of New Zealand and Australia. Australia has 11 large deserts, more than one-third of the area is covered by deserts, rainfall is very small, forming a semi-annular climate distribution centered on tropical desert climate. A large number of tropical rain forests are distributed along the southeast coast of Australia, and the northeast coastal areas are hot and rainy throughout the year, and there are many primitive tropical rain forests that humans have never set foot in. Unlike Australia, which is composed of deserts and virgin forests, New Zealand is mountainous, with mountains and hills accounting for 75% of the total area. The temperate maritime climate makes the temperature difference in the four seasons little, and extreme temperatures rarely occur.
On land, more toxic animals need to meet the environmental conditions of high temperature and dense jungle at the same time. The annual temperature in Australia is higher than that of New Zealand, and there is denser tropical rain forest than New Zealand. Animals are more toxic. After tens of thousands of years The evolution has formed what it is today.
Southern Crake, Kiwi
In addition to the talents of being “far away from the mainland” and “low temperature difference”, New Zealand still maintains an ecological environment with few natural enemies in today’s era of globalization, and it also depends on the efforts of the locals. New Zealand has very strict quarantine on imported animals and plants, and snakes are completely prohibited from entering. Even in the zoo, you can’t see any kind of snakes. If imported snakes are found in New Zealand, they will be sentenced to about 5 years in prison. For the protection of the environment, New Zealanders have also done a lot of work on the minutiae: In Auckland restaurants, almost all the boxes of hand sanitizer in the restrooms are affixed with a reminder label of “This hand sanitizer does not contain palm oil”-encourage everyone to use it Washing products that do not contain palm oil to protect the tropical rain forest from being felled.
The island has its own talents, and the people in it are willing to work hard to protect the talents, so the fairy tale of “no natural enemies” can always continue.
There is almost no invasion by natural enemies. In New Zealand, the most comfortable ones are all kinds of birds.
If you pay attention to the country-representing patterns on the signboards, books and stamps of New Zealand street shops, it is easy to see New Zealand’s national treasure, the Kiwi.
It is said to be a “bird”, but the kiwi is a wingless bird and cannot fly. As there are no natural enemies in New Zealand and food is readily available, the wings of the kiwi gradually degenerate and eventually lose the ability to fly as a bird.
The habits and appearance of kiwis seem to be more than cute and not alert: the round body, slender beak, swaying when walking, it is very interesting. Kiwis with small eyes and poor eyesight live in forests and bushes. They appear day and night. They love lively group life and are gentle and curious. As a bird, kiwis rarely live in burrows like rabbits. Their slender beaks are excellent digging tools and can dig out a nest enough for themselves and their offspring to live.
Also forgotten how to fly, there are also the nearly endangered Nanyangji. Also unique to New Zealand, the flightless Nanyangji did not have the good luck of the national treasure, the kiwi bird. It was on the brink of extinction due to early human activities and environmental changes. It was not found again until around the 1940s. Nowadays, there are about 300 Southern Crakes inhabiting a special bird sanctuary on Tiritiri Mataki Island.
New Zealand has strict quarantine on imported animals and plants, and the entry of snakes is completely prohibited.
In addition to the slightly clumsy national treasures and the Southern Crake, New Zealand also has some strange and unique birds. For example, the noisy cluster-breasted honeybird is very courageous, and will take the initiative to fly to humans to look at it curiously, and it can also learn to talk like a parrot; for example, the pecking parrot, which is a bird that lives on high mountains, has a stubborn nature. By naming “pecking sheep”, people can read the “good things” it has always done. Nowadays, the “business scope” of the pecker is not only limited to pecking sheep, but also keen to use their mouths to remove the exposed small parts of people’s cars, making local residents love and hate and helpless.
Although unique birds can be seen everywhere in New Zealand, if you come to the famous Muriwai Beach near Auckland during a specific spring and summer season, you can not only enjoy the “30 Best Views in the World” once rated by the US “National Geographic” magazine “One of the charming black beaches and magnificent cliffs, you can also meet the breeding festival of gannets.
These gannets fly to Australia every winter to escape the New Zealand winter, and then fly back to Muriwai Beach in New Zealand around October, where they build nests and hatch their eggs, and then fly to Australia with the little gannets around March of the following year. Therefore, from October to March of the following year, Muriwai Beach became a bird’s world, and was called the “Bird Island” by the locals. Although the so-called “island” is just two boulders standing on the sea, it is counted as Thousands of gannets live and multiply here. The cheerful bird calls accompanied by the sound of waves hitting the boulders, resembled a beautiful symphony of nature.
Compared with the stupid kiwi birds, gannets not only bring the beautiful scenery of nature, they are also excellent little fishermen, fishermen call them “navigation birds”-if they follow the flight trajectory of gannet Chasing the fishing group to ensure a great harvest.
The colorful birds provide people with unlimited fun in nature, and people also carefully guard the life and reproduction of the birds. In New Zealand, how can the name “Bird Island” be limited to just two boulders?
With a good ecology and a low-threat living environment, not only birds will benefit, but more endangered and rare oceans and reptiles can find their homes in New Zealand.
The ancient bird penguin, known as the “boat of the ocean”, is a combination of flying birds and the ocean. In New Zealand, you can see three rare species of penguins that are rarely seen in other regions: blue penguins, yellow-eyed penguins, and fjord-crowned penguins.
The blue penguin is the smallest penguin in the world, with a height of only 30 cm-almost the height of a bottle of mineral water. Even an adult blue penguin weighs only about 1 kg. Because they are petite and often active at night, in order to protect them near the Blue Penguin Sanctuary in Oamaru, the locals made a special donation to build a special underground passage for blue penguins, so that these little creatures are safe from being disturbed by humans. Cross the road and go home.
Kiwis rarely live in burrows like rabbits, and their slender beaks are excellent digging tools.
In the Otago Peninsula south of Dunedin and the south coast of Otago, you can see only more than 4000 yellow-eyed penguins in the world today—connecting two yellow eyes is a beautiful yellowish border . The yellow-eyed penguin is larger. An adult yellow-eyed penguin is about 70 cm tall and weighs about 6 kg. In addition to the yellow-eyed penguin, the fjord-crowned penguin is also one of the rarest birds in the world. They live in the southernmost fjord and Stewart Island in the South Island of New Zealand. They are beautiful and rare.
New Zealand, surrounded by the ocean, is also a gathering place for marine life. In Auckland’s Hauraki Bay Marine Park, the critically endangered Bryde’s whale makes its home. Among the 37 species of marine mammals in the southern hemisphere, more than 25 have long lived in this area, almost becoming a “population museum.” And if you go to Kaikoura on the east coast of the South Island, people can meet sperm whales more easily than in any piece of sea.
Kaikoura’s underwater environment is special. The continental shelf in the waters has a very steep slope, descending from the land to an underwater canyon; the collision of the warm and cold currents from the north to the south makes the plankton and deep-sea nutrients very rich, which is very important for the survival of the whales. Propagation provides an ideal environment and food reserves. The sperm whales that settle here often come out of the water after searching for food, and give whale watchers a surprise that will not be missed.
At the end of the story, might as well go to the offshore reserve to see the crocodile lizard-a unique species that has survived from ancient times. As the only surviving beak-headed reptile in the world that has continued from the age of dinosaurs to the present, other members of its family have been extinct 65 million years ago, while the ancient New Zealand lizard has continued to this day by virtue of the time and place. This “lizard’s living fossil” has an average life span of more than 100 years. During a lifetime, the skin can change into several different colors. At the same time, it is also a rare “three-eyed” animal. People currently do not know the purpose of the mysterious third eye on its forehead, but some scientists believe that it is an organ that helps the New Zealand lizard calculate and distinguish time.
As an oviparous animal, the sex of the New Zealand giant lizard is determined by the ambient temperature at the time of incubation: only if it is below 22.1 degrees Celsius, it is possible to hatch a female lizard. With the impact of global warming, it becomes more and more difficult for female lizards to hatch. The “living fossils” that have gone through a long evolutionary road and inhabited islands without natural enemies will also face the crisis of extinction-slowing down global warming, and Minimizing the impact of human activities, a new “natural enemy”, should not be just the efforts of New Zealanders.