400 Leggy Insects Released Onto Island Near Auckland to Regenerate Species

StoryfulNewsPublished: November 23, 2017
Published: November 23, 2017

Scientists released 400 insects known as giant wētā, or wētāpunga, at Motuhorapapa Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf as part of a program to regenerate the species in November 2017. “After these wētāpunga have settled in to their new home and reach breeding age, our hope is that they will increase the genetic diversity of their species. As well as releasing wētāpunga, our team are also looking for evidence of ‘wild-born’ juvenile wētāpunga on the island – an exciting sign that we are close to our goal of establishing a self-sustaining population on the island,” Auckland Zoo said. They released footage of the wētāpunga on Wednesday, November 22. The insects can grow to be heavier than a mouse or sparrow, according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Credit: Auckland Zoo via Storyful

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