April 2017 – Giant moss

A giant grows at Aongatete. It’s not a tree or a fern or a flower – it’s a moss. It is the Giant moss, the tallest moss in the world. Mosses are usually short, like green carpet under the trees, but the Giant moss looks like a miniature forest of pine seedlings. Up to 50cm tall, a forest of Giant moss grows along the banks of the track near the Aongatete swimming hole. The Giant moss only grows in New Zealand and its scientific name is Dawsonia superba, Dawsonia aft...
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March 2017 – Rat dog

A new volunteer has come to Aongatete forest to help the Project to control rats. She didn’t walk in carrying a bag of rat bait. Instead she trotted in on her four paws, wearing a special vest and muzzle. She is a rat dog called Millie. Rat dogs are specially trained to detect rats. They and their handlers go regularly to our sanctuary off-shore islands, to check that they remain free of rats. At Aongatete, Millie and her boss Scott Sambell explored around the Outdoor ...
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Curious creatures get along just fine

photo by David Mudge
Some partnerships just seem right – cheese and crackers, McCaw and Carter, bats and wood roses. These last two get along perfectly because New Zealand’s short-tailed bat is about the only bat in the world to spend most of its life on the forest floor. The wood rose is a parasitic plant that lives on tree roots and relies on the bat to pollinate its flowers. These bats and wood roses are rarities and, like many of New Zealand’s unique species, are struggling to survive. The Departmen...
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January 2017 – Rata

Everyone loves the pohutukawa with its crimson canopy of flowers. But fewer people know its cousins, the rata trees and vines. Several vine species grow in the forest at Aongatete and it is a white rata that is flowering at present. Each flower, like that of the pohutukawa, is a tiny cup filled with nectar and fringed with stamens. Tui and honey bees love the nectar. Amongst our climbing rata species there are several with white flowers, one with spectacular pinkish...
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Pests of Aongatete Forest – video

These are the enemy of native biodiversity. This film was compiled in 2014 (no sound). We use game cameras to understand the behaviors of these species, in our mission to control them. Thanks to Barry and Pam Pethybridge for filming and editing these clips. https://youtu.be/OB5eUsfExKw The next video is a slideshow of still photographs compiled between January 2010 and June 2013. https://youtu.be/pN1y3KA4d3I
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