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  • Possum eating an egg from a nest.
    Rights: Image courtesy of Nga Manu Images Published 25 June 2021 Size: 290 KB Referencing Hub media

    New Zealand ecosystems have very high numbers of endemic species. These are species that are found in New Zealand and nowhere else. Aotearoa New Zealand separated from Gondwanaland around 85 million years ago. Without mammalian predators, some of the birds evolved to be ground dwellers, such as the kiwi, kākāpō and weka. With the arrival of humans around 700 years ago came new predators. These predators with their food and habitat requirements wrought huge changes on our unique and fragile ecosystems. Since the arrival of humans until 1994, 46% of the endemic land, freshwater and coastal bird species have become extinct.

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