Story: European discovery of plants and animals

Lassie the bird dog

Lassie the bird dog

Richard Henry was an early conservationist who shared many of the concerns of naturalists. His dog Lassie was trained to sniff out kākāpō (flightless parrots). Many naturalists lamented the decline in bird life and rightly laid the blame on introduced mammalian predators such as rats and stoats. Henry relocated kākāpō to Resolution Island, Fiordland, in the 1890s in an attempt to give them a predator-free haven. He failed, as stoats swam across to the island in 1900 and killed the birds. But his idea lived on, and many native species today survive only on islands from which predators have been removed.

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Hocken Library, University of Otago
Photograph by Richard Henry

Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.

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How to cite this page:

John Andrews, 'European discovery of plants and animals - New directions: 1890s–today', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 December 2023)

Story by John Andrews, published 24 Sep 2007