The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a wildlife reserve in Dunedin. It’s a safe refuge of some of the world’s rarest birds and other species of fauna and flora.
We can say that the Orokonui Ecosanctuary is our beacon of hope. For us all humanity and for biodiversity. Had it not for the efforts of some individuals, we and the next generation would have not known about some wildlife species. We would not have seen the world’s rarest birds. Or the rare native plants of New Zealand. Our ecosystem would have lost some of its important components.
What to see at Orokonui Ecosanctuary
When you visit the ecosanctuary, you would find these amazing species.
New Zealand pigeon. As the name suggests, this is an endemic bird to New Zealand. In most parts of the country, Māori calls it kūkupa. While in some parts of the North Island, they call it kūkū.
The New Zealand pigeons are the largest pigeon species. They play an important role in ecology. They are the only birds that are capable of eating the biggest native fruits and drupes.
New Zealand pigeons are regarded as frugivorous because they primarily feed on fruits from native trees. But they also browse on leaves and buds, especially the nitrogen-rich foliage.
Bellbird. This passerine bird is an endemic species to New Zealand. Māori calls it korimako and makomako. The bellbird song is famed for its distinct sounds. They resonate like that of chiming bells. You would hear them sing during the day. But more often during the early morning and late evening.
Bellbirds feed on fruits, insects, and nectar. And since they are honeyeaters, they play an important role in pollinating many native plants. Some of the plants that benefit from its pollination are the mistletoe, kowhai, and fuchsia.
Morepork. Moreporks are a small brown owl. They are also known as ruru or the Tasmanian spotted owl.
They are known to be top predators with a huge territory. They hunt for a variety of animals and insects. Most of their preys including small birds, rats, mice, scarab, huhu beetles, and wetas. Moreporks also feed on caterpillars, moths, spiders, and grasshoppers.
This species are mainly nocturnal birds. Although sometimes they can be active at dawn and at dusk. In dark nights and when the weather is bad, they may hunt during daylight.
Rare plants garden. The Orokonui Ecosanctuary is a safe haven for native plants as well. Some of the species that are now starting to thrive in its care include:
- Carex inopinata or the grassy mat sedge
- Euphorbia glauca
- Olearia fragrantissima. This is a more perfumed relative of the Olearia paniculata hedge.
These rare plants would have been lost from the environment due to competition with introduced species. The few that may have existed outside the sanctuary might have been struggling to survive from the munchings of browsing stock.
Come to Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Discover each species’ role in our ecosystem. And see how you could be of help to preserve, or even, increase their number. It’s not only a knowledge-enriching experience to be there. It’s fun interacting with the animals, too.
The ecosanctuary is situated on the hill above Blueskin Bay, Blueskin Road, Dunedin.