17 September 2014

Pukaha – Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre

Today we went on our behind the scene tour at the Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre. After an hours drive from Palmerston North through the rain and wind, the day cleared up nicely for us just before we arrived. The main visitor centre was very well laid out with some impressive displays, videos and interactive touch screens. We got guided around the main grounds and trough the tracks by two guides, Clair and Jane. Both obviously loved there jobs and did a fantastic job of showing us stuff and had loads of stories and info. We were also joined by a resident expert and long time volunteer Colin, who had been around for many years and had some great stories of how the place came to be and what went on in the early days.

We got to feed a Tuatara a Locus for lunch which was very cool to see how fast a Tuatara can actually move when motivated by food.

The surprise of the day were the eels. Growing up I’d caught eels, eaten eels and seen hundreds of them, but nothing like these. They were huge, up to about 2 meters long and several were as thick as my thigh. We were having too much fun and just astounded at there size so we never got a good picture of them.  But man did they go crazy over chicken skin that we feed them.

They have a captive Kokako was also another surprise, the only one in the world in captivity they tell use, as she was rescued and cant be returned to the wild as she wouldn't survive

Now of course the star attraction was the white kiwi. We couldn't use flash to take any photos of her in her night time enclosure, but I did manage to get some video of her doing the what Kiwi’s do at night and hunt for food. Very cool indeed. After that we got up close to a young Kiwi as the keepers put on a new coloured leg band on it (it because they don't know if it’s a girl or boy yet)  Yep, I can now confirm that Kiwi’s are in fact super cute up close.

The characters of the day were the Kaka (Large native parrot), some 30 odd turned up the for feeding and we had a blast photographing them and watching there antics.

So another fantastic done and dusted, going back to work next week is going to be painfully that's for sure.

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