Finding the Famous Five

When he was last in New Zealand British zoologist Mark Carwardine spent two weeks travelling the length and breadth of the country, “in search of an outlandish menagerie of animals known as the ‘Small Five’”: the tuatara, Hector’s dolphin, the kea, the yellow-eyed penguin and the kiwi. “The tuatara [is] best known for living longer than nearly any other animal,” Carwadine writes from Tiri Island. “I found a tuatara on my very first morning. About 2ft long, it was standing completely motionless next to a forest path. It had enormous eyes and sharp-looking spines along its back. We didn’t find the dolphins – they found us. We took the boat out to the [Akaroa] harbour entrance, cut the engines and waited. Before you could say ‘on the verge of extinction’, we were surrounded by the tiniest dolphins I had ever seen.”

Tags: Akaroa  Hector's Dolphin  Kea  Kiwi  Telegraph (The)  Tiri Island  Tuatara  yellow-eyed penguin  Zoology