Half-Wild Kiwi

June 12, 2007


While I was living in Wellington, I took a night trip out to the Karori Wildlife Santcuary to look for kiwi’s. Karori is an island of wilderness stuck just outside of Wellington, and focuses on the preservation of New Zealand’s native species. New Zealand has many fantastic animals, many of which are very much endangered by foreign invasive species. For example, the Australian Possum is considered to be endangered in Australia, but in New Zealand, it’s an annoying pest, and I think there’s even a bounty on killing them. In Australia, the possum can’t compete with the more aggressive species of life, but it’s quite well adapted for life in New Zealand.

The Karori Sanctuary is one place that native animal life is preserved in New Zealand. They do their best to keep possums, weasels, dogs, cats, and any other animal that threatens the longevity of the locals. On my trip, we spent the time looking at wetas glowworms, and lots and lots of trees. On the way back, just after sunset, we managed to startle a kiwi looking for food. Since Karori isn’t really a place for animals on display, seeing a kiwi was extremely fortunate for us. Normally, any photography of the kiwi’s is forbidden, but I talked to our guide and found out the reasoning behind it. Basically, most everyone uses flashes when they take night pictures, and it’s the light that bugs the birds. If you turn off the flash, you’ll be ok, but you won’t really get anything except black in the picture. However, there is a secret for getting pictures of the birds that actually look like a picture. All you really have to do is prevent the kiwis from seeing the light.

I was able to get a couple pictures of the kiwi we saw, but because I didn’t have the right lighting, they’re all smudged. In my pictures, the white smudge inside the red smudge is the kiwi. I really saw it, honest.