Posts categorized as Mammals

A Day in the Life of a Natural History Curator – the intern’s view!

  • Westland Petrel at the breeding colony near Punakaiki, Westland. Photo, Lara Shepherd.
  • This box contained the bones of a sea lion found at the Chatham Islands. Photo, Mathilde Meheut.
  • Mathilde helped to handle petrels during the deployment of GPS loggers. The logger is visible taped on to the birds back feathers with brown   sticky tape. Photo, Susan Waugh
  • A miniature GPS logger used by scientists to follow the movements of Westland Petrels at sea. Mathilde helped with note-taking and field work. Another specialist writing job for Te Papa! Photo, Susan Waugh.

I’m Mathilde Meheut, a French biology student travelling in New Zealand who had the chance to do some voluntary work at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of the work I got involved in at Te Papa during a few weeks in June and July… Read more »

Phar Lap’s DNA

Te Papa Conservator Robert Clendon removes Phar Lap’s skull from the rest of the skeleton, before extracting one of the incisor teeth. Photo Jean-Claude Stahl. © Te Papa.

Earlier this year, Te Papa received a request from scientists in Australia for a tooth sample from legendary race horse Phar Lap. The scientists are hoping to extract DNA from the tooth.  Then they will be able to compare Phar Lap’s DNA with other horses. Press release from the scientists attempting to obtain Phar Lap’s… Read more »

Ruapuke Island – 1941 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 9)

  • A pair of yellow-eyed penguins on Ruapuke Island., December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Fernbird carrying insects to its young, Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • A pair of weka on Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Dark morph female on left, brown morph male on right. Images: Colin Miskelly
  • Ruapuke Island from the south-east, with Bluff Hill in the distance. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Green Island (Papatea) – 1941 and 2012 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 8)

  • New Zealand fur seal cows and pups on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Geckos (Woodworthia 'Otago large') on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Fernbird photographed on Ruapuke Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Brown creeper on Green Island, December 2012. Image: Colin Miskelly

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly is researching the life and work of the Canterbury naturalist Edgar Stead (1881-1949). This includes re-taking Stead’s photos from the same photo-point, taking other images to illustrate his diaries, and describing how the ecology and wildlife of each of 10 islands has changed since Stead’s visits…. Read more »

Hunting henriettas on Ruapuke Island – on the tail of New Zealand’s first mice

Henrietta Bay on the south coast of Ruapuke Island. The cannon is claimed to have come from the Elizabeth Henrietta. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Few people are aware of Ruapuke Island. Guarding the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, the 1600 ha island is large enough to appear as a smudge of colour at the very bottom of TV3’s weather map. Yet the island’s low relief means that passengers on the Stewart Island ferry 20 km to the west barely… Read more »

World’s rarest whale revealed to the world.

M traversii mother

Even in this well-informed age it’s surprising how much we still don’t know about the natural world – especially the oceans!    All whales must come to the surface to breathe, despite this the Spade-tooth whale Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874), an animal over 5m in length, has never been see alive, and until 31 December 2010 no one… Read more »

Our far South – Antipodes and Bounty Islands: dots of importance

  • Salvin's albatross. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Furseal. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.

I awoke on the morning of 6 March to discover that we had very rapid progress over night and were approaching the rugged columnular basalt cliffs of the Antipodes Island, crowned with green tussocks. The home to the Antipodean albatross,the Antipodes Island parakeet and the erect-crested penguin (to name just a few of the birds!)…. Read more »