Digital Dimdima
-By Diana Tijoriwalla
About New Zealand
Primary Schools
Rotorua, the Volcanic City
Kiwi Speak
White Island Volcano
National Bird
Fruits & Vegetables
The Sky Tower
Driving in New Zealand
Flora & Fauna
Tranz Metro
Underwater Aquarium
The Waitomo Caves
Traffic Regulations

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Flora & Fauna

Hello there,
This time I shall tell you about the flora & fauna.

The uniqueness of the land is matched by unique plants & animals. Evergreen native forests once covered the land & contained some of the most ancient plants on the earth. Giant, slow-growing kauri, rimu & totara dominated the forests, along with an indigenous beech trees. Human habitation led to extensive forest clearance for agriculture, especially after the arrival of Europeans.
As with the trees, the native vegetation & flowering plants are unlike anywhere else in the world. In particular the rare flora of the sub-alpine regions, attract botanists from all over the globe. The mixture of native cabbage trees, flax, toetoe, ferns & nikau palms that occur across NZ is unique, & the brilliant yellow flowers of the kowhai & the red of the rata & pohutukawa give a NZ spring its own particular style. Aside from 2 species of the small bat, NZ has no indigenous mammals. The largest , the moa, is now extinct, but 2 nocturnal flightless birds still exist. The kakapa is a large parrot, & the kiwi is adopted as the NZ’s national emblem. There are many birds, from seabirds such as penguins & albatrosses to the musical tui & bellbird. There are a number of parrots, the best known being the world’s only mountain parrot, the kea. It has spectacular colours, & an inquisitive & sometimes destructive nature. Among NZ’s many species of small reptiles the most notable is the tuatara. Fossils show tuatara were around during the age of the dinosaur. NZ does not have any snakes. The weta is one of the most ancient lifeforms in the world, believed to have been unchanged for 190 million years. At 71 grams the giant weta is also the largest insect in the world yet! Despite a fearsome appearance, it is harmless. The katipo, a mildly poisonous spider found only in the north, is the only venomous animal in NZ. Conservation & environmental controls have become important, particularly as New Zealanders have always taken pride in living in a ‘ clean, green’ country. Extensive efforts are taken to protect the species that are still left. Offshore islands are turned into sanctuaries & stringent laws have been passed. Border security prevent the entry of more pests. Concern for the environment, has led to the establishment of a Department of Conservation, & a number of anti-pollution measures such as the introduction of lead-free petrol, the banning of imported CFCs, & the encouragement to recycle.

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