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As Central Otago's original dryland vegetation was destroyed by human fires and farming, so too many of its animal species were lost through habitat degradation and the impact of introduced mammals. 

Browse the animal species gallery to get a taste of some of the animals native to the Central Otago drylands.

Species gallery

Kakariki
Kakariki

Scientific name: Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae. Common names: Kakariki, Red-crowned parakeet. Image: Francesco Veronesi. CC-BY-SA 2.0

Cromwell chafer beetle
Cromwell chafer beetle

Scientific name: Prodontria lewisii. Image: Bruce McKinlay CC-BY-4.0

Tuatara
Tuatara

Scientific name: Sphenodon Image: Bernard Spragg, Public domain.

Kea
Kea

Scientific name: Nestor notabilis. Image: Bernard Spragg, Public domain.

Looper moths
Looper moths

Family: Geometridae, Genus: Dichromodes. Image: Birgit E. Rhode CC-BY 4.0

Tree weta
Tree weta

Scientific name: Hemideina. Image: Jerome Albre CC-BY 2.0

Moa
Moa

Scientific name: Dinornithiformes. Extinct. Image: John Megahan CC-BY 2.5

Weka
Weka

Scientific name: Gallirallus australis. Image: Sid Mosdell CC-BY 2.0

Rifleman
Rifleman

Scientific name: Acanthisitta chloris. Image: Shellie Evans CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Laughing owl
Laughing owl

Scientific name: Sceloglaux albifacies. Extinct. Image: John Gerrard Keulemans. Public domain.

Takahe
Takahe

Scientific name: Porphyrio hochstetteri. Image: Harald Selke. CC-BY-SA 2.0

Swift moth
Swift moth

Family: Hepialidae. Image: Birgit E. Rhode. CC-BY 4.0

New Zealand quail
New Zealand quail

Scientific name: Coturnix novaezelandiae. Extinct. Image: Charles Joseph Hullmandel.

Kaka
Kaka

Scientific name: Nestor meridionalis. Image: Digitalrails CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scree weta
Scree weta

Scientific name: Deinacrida connectens. Image: NZSnowman CC-BY-SA 2.0

Haast eagle
Haast eagle

Scientific name: Harpagornis moorei. Extinct. Image: John Megahan CC-BY 2.5

South Island goose
South Island goose

Scientific name: Cnemiornis calcitrans. Extinct. Image: Public domain.

Southern brown kiwi
Southern brown kiwi

Scientific name: Apteryx australis. Maori name: Tokoeka Image: Glen Fergus CC-BY 2.0