Giant wētā listed as threatened by DOC

Mon, Jan 16

The giant wētā has been listed as threatened by the Department of Conservation (DOC) due to its declining population.

One of the country's rarest insects, and a New Zealand icon, the giant wētā population now has the protection of conservationists and their modern technology.

A scientific reserve, cut off from the public at Otorohanga Kiwi House, is dedicated to protecting the only naturally occurring population of giant wētā on mainland New Zealand.

"All the rest of them have been predated by introduced predators like rats, stoats, cats, hedgehogs [and] possums," says DOC ranger Troy McDonald.

To protect the population from danger, temperature sensors feed live data back to computers at the purpose-build facility.

Although the first giant wētā were only brought to the facility last year, the breeding programme is already showing results - with 19 eggs already laid, soon to be juvenile wētā which will be released into the wild.


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