Sub-Antarctic Islands (World Heritage)

Sub-Antarctic Islands (World Heritage)

Sub-Antarctic Islands, the uninhabited sub-Antarctic Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland and Campbell Islands are characterized by a high number of endemic plant and animal species.

The important bird sanctuary is also a sanctuary for whales and other marine mammals. Visit printerhall for New Zealand Tour Plan.

Sub-Antarctic Islands: Facts

Official title: Sub-Antarctic Islands: Snares, Bounty Islands, Antipode Islands, Auckland Islands and Campbell
Natural monument: Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, Antipodes Islands, Snares Islands and Bounty Islands National Nature Reserves and Auckland Islands Marine Mammal Sanctuary; Located in the zone of the “Roaring Forties”, land area of ​​764.58 km², number of annual visitors limited to a maximum of 600
Continent: Australia / Oceania
Country: New Zealand
Location: south and east of the South Island of New Zealand
Appointment: 1998
Meaning: a major center of biodiversity and endemism
Flora and fauna: on Auckland Islands 233 vascular plants, 6 of which only occur here and 30 classified as rare, as well as the southernmost forest in the region with »Southern Rata« (Metrosideros umbellata) and tree ferns; 120 bird species, including 40 sea bird species, 5 of which only breed here; Breeding area for 10 of the world’s 24 albatross species such as king and black-browed albatross, 4 breeding species of penguins such as snares penguin, on the Snares Islands and others. over 3 million pairs of the dark shearwater, on the Snares and Auckland Islands and others. Maori catch, on Campbell, Snares, Antipodes and Auckland Islands, among others. Auckland snipe; 10,000 to 15,000 New Zealand sea lions (95% of the world’s population) and up to 20,000 fur seals; The “nursery” of the southern right whale on Campbell and Auckland Islands

Biodiversity outpost

On a gloomy cold winter day, far from mainland New Zealand, southern right whales congregate in a fjord at the northern end of the Auckland Islands. Individually or in groups, these gigantic mammals come here to mate and calve. But the scenery was not always so peaceful: in the 1840s, the whales that swam in the Port Ross fjord would have had to expect to be slaughtered by whalers from distant England without further ado. Fortunately, those days are over and the waters around the Auckland Islands are now used as sanctuaries for whales and other marine mammals.

While the whales – protected from the storms of these wild oceanic latitudes – blow a fountain of water into the sky from their breathing holes from time to time and frolic about, a group of New Zealand sea lions crawl on the beach. Without wasting a thought on the rearing of the young that takes place in summer, they spend their days dozing and sleeping in the “tussock bed” in winter. Some also venture out into the coastal Rata forest. Young albatrosses – sitting on the tundra-covered peaks of Enderby Island, the northernmost island of the Auckland Islands – wait patiently and wide-eyed for the next feeding. The king albatrosses, one of the largest bird species in the world, only raise their young every two years.

To get a single cub through, both parents must spend nine months caring for the brood. When the offspring have increased in size and weight accordingly, they will spread their wings with a span of three meters in the coming spring and, after a training flight, leave their “parents’ home” towards the open sea. At the edges of the basalt cliffs, Auckland Island shags come together and now and then feed on the rich fish stocks of the coastal waters. Every now and then double-band plovers visit the sleeping places of these shags, “chattering” loudly and looking for a free spot.

The sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand, which lie in the wild South Pacific, are a “haven of endemism” and a richly equipped outpost of biodiversity. Thanks to the isolation of the islands, which are far from mainland New Zealand, an impressive number of unique plant and animal species have survived here. These have defied the winds of the “Roaring Forties” and “Furious Fifties” to this day. But the sea still has the upper hand over the scattered land masses, which are of inestimable importance as a resting place and for the care of the seabirds. Even the smallest piece of rock is still used, including on the islets of the Bounty Group. Seven species of sea birds are at home here, mainly penguin and albatross species. The snares, steep and made of granite, are big enough to be habitat for tree asters. At the same time, they are the best address for seabirds: dark shearwaters determine what is happening there. Due to their sheer number – over millions of couples – they cover the sky over the islands in deep black at sunrise and sunset. Their nests have transformed the peat-rich soil of the forest into a “crater landscape”. As soon as dusk sets in, they return home, and some of them – flying through the canopy -go awkwardly to the ground. Meanwhile, the snares thick-billed penguins guard the rocky slopes that give them access to the sea with eagle eyes. They often seek shelter in the forest and spend the night – this is quite untypical for penguins – on branches that have grown deeper.

The Auckland, Cambell and Antipodes Islands are of volcanic origin and each have their own characteristics: The Antipodes Islands are known for their southern elephant seals, while Campbell is home to yellow-eyed penguins and black-browed albatrosses. The Auckland Islands, on the other hand, draw attention to themselves with sea lions and Gibson migratory albatrosses.

But even in these remote latitudes, nature is threatened by the influence of human settlement, especially the introduction of animals such as rats, pigs, goats and sheep. In 2003 Campbell Island was finally declared “rat-free” through extensive animal cleansing. As a result, 50 camp ducks were successfully released there.

Sub-Antarctic Islands (World Heritage)