Native animals play important roles in the ecosystems they are a part of. Birds and other animals help keep native bush healthy, by pollinating flowers and distributing seeds.
Despite their important roles, many of these animals are threatened by introduced pest animals and loss of habitat.
Native animals need a number of conditions to survive and increase in numbers. For example, in forests our native birds need a variety of food sources all year round, along with safe places to nest and forage. Birds also live and nest in many other habitat types, such as on beaches and in wetlands.
Invertebrates live in a variety of habitats including soils and rotting wood, while lizards live in a range of habitats including coastal sites, wetlands, forests and even urban gardens. Aquatic insects live in water where leaf litter and shade are important habitat requirements. Many of our native fish species need access to both the sea and freshwater so that they can live out their full lifecycle and breed.
You can help by providing food and safe habitat for native animals
Planting native trees like karamū, kōhūhū, lemonwood, five-finger, putaputawētā and kohekohe provides a winter supply of fruit and/or nectar for forest birds in your garden. On coastal properties, plants like sand coprosma, sand pimelea and mingimingi are more suitable.
Some plants have separate male (pollen producing) and female (fruit bearing) plants, so planting several saplings of each species is more likely to result in fruit. Native plants provide habitat for birds and keeping logs and branches in your garden can also provide habitat for lizards and insects.
Animal pests like stoats, rats and cats are some of the biggest threats to native animals. You can help by controlling the animal pests on your property and making sure your cat is inside as much as possible. If you live in Wellington City, check out Enhancing the Halo for more information. The aim of this project is to make Wellington New Zealand’s natural capital by making all back yards safe havens for native wildlife.
Record what you see
NatureWatch is a website where you can record what you see in nature. It can help you identify what is in your backyard, meet other nature lovers and learn about the natural world.
There are several websites which contain useful information about our native animals. Check out: