“Named Apteryx, the balloon was launched with a four-pound payload consisting of sensors, an open-source microcontroller called Arduino and consumer-grade cameras.”
“Key fauna protection programs run by the Department of Conservation in the area focus on species present on the predator-free islands, including tuatara, native frogs, kakapo (Strigops habroptilus CR), the endangered takahe (Porphyrio mantelli), and little spotted kiwi (Apteryx owenii VU).”
“Two of the North Island's largest populations of brown kiwi (Apteryx australis VU) and blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos VU) can still be found in the central and eastern mountain ranges.”
“The relatively unmodified uplands are a stronghold for many bird species like the great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii VU) and blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos VU), now gone from more modified lowland areas.”
“The nocturnal North Island kiwi (Apteryx australis mantelli) can be found in these forests, and New Zealand's forest birds were once abundant.”
“Westland's large areas of protected and relatively unmodified forest make it a center for avian diversity; as well as the more common forest species like tui (Prosthemadera novaseelandiae) and fantail (Rhipidura fuliginosa) there are around 28 species of threatened birds within the region including the endemic Okarito brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli EN) and, in South Westland, the Haast brown kiwi or tokoeka (Apteryx australis VU).”
“As a result, bird populations on Rakiura fared much better than those on the neighboring South Island, and flightless birds like the Stewart Island kiwi (Apteryx australis lawryi) are still found here.”
“All four species of kiwi are also threatened: tokoeka (Apteryx australis, VU), great spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii, VU), brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli, EN), and little spotted kiwi (Apertyx owenii, VU).”
“More than 56 bird species have been recorded in the park including brown kiwi Apteryx australis, kaka Nestor meridionalis, blue duck Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus and North Island fern bird Bowdleria punctata vealeae.”
“Introduction of exotic species has contributed to the threatened status of the greater spotted kiwi (Apteryx haastii), pictured here.”
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