Story: Extinctions

Cuvier Island (2nd of 1)

Cuvier Island

Scientist Georges Cuvier is commemorated in the name of this small (170 hectares) island off the Coromandel coast. Although Cuvier is remembered as the scientist who introduced the concept of extinction, the island is an example of a habitat where animals have been rescued from the brink of extinction.

Cuvier Island originally had a large population of native birds, but many were killed by introduced predators. Eradication of goats (1961), cats (1970) and rats (1993) has allowed the return of bird species, including saddlebacks and red-crowned parakeets. The last tuatara (native reptiles), rescued from the island before they could be exterminated by rats, are breeding in captivity. When their numbers are high enough they will be reintroduced to the island.

About this item

GNS Science
Reference: CN9194/6
Photograph by Lloyd Homer

Permission of GNS Science must be obtained before any use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Richard Holdaway, 'Extinctions - The concept of extinction', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/13647/cuvier-island (accessed 15 December 2017)

Story by Richard Holdaway, published 24 Sep 2007