New Zealand is so biodiverse, it can pretty much be called the biodiversity capital of the world! Of the 2,000 plant species that thrive in New Zealand, 1,500 of them only appear in New Zealand.
Many, many animals can only be found in New Zealand as well. Most of the animals on the two islands of New Zealand are birds. They are not just any birds but flightless birds! Even penguins live on the surrounding islands! Some birds that live on the two main islands are the kea, kakapo, and the national bird, the kiwi. The fruit kiwi is actually named after the bird because they look identical, and because humans discovered the bird first. Kakapos and keas are in the parrot family, and there are 7 different kinds of parrots that live in New Zealand.
About 500 years ago, a huge bird (bigger than the ostrich) called the Moa, lived in New Zealand. The Maori people that lived in New Zealand at the time hunted it down, and the moa is now EXTINCT.
Threats to Survival
Hunting, which is a threat to many living things, destroyed the moa in New Zealand. Another reason animals in New Zealand might be in trouble is because humans might think the kea is a threat to them because it is known to peck at cars.
Most of the moa's habitat in New Zealand is grassland because the Maori tribe kept burning the forests to capture the moa. They kept burning it so quickly that the forests that were thriving couldn’t grow back, so now they are grasslands.
If there are any forests in New Zealand, they would most likely be rainforests. Since there actually are forests in New Zealand, that allows even more biodiversity! One of these forests is called the Northland Forest. It is home to some of the oldest plants in the world.
How We’re Helping
New Zealanders are already helping by making the 141 other islands (around New Zealand's two main islands) wildlife reserves for endangered animals. For example, if anyone finds a kakapo on the main islands, they will take the bird over to a safe home on Codfish Island.