Climate Change: Native Species

Climate change is going to affect our native species, and their habitats in many diverse ways

West Coast giant snails

Some of our native giant carnivorous snails live in alpine areas, so are under less threat from stoats and possums, which prefer warmer climes. Rising temperatures could allow pests such as possums to move into alpine areas, threatening the survival of the snails and other alpine species.

An end to our alpine species? 


The temperature during incubation of the tuatara's eggs determines the sex of tuatara offspring. If the temperature is above 21 degrees Celsius all the offspring will be male. Increased temperatures due to climate change could have a serious impact on the tuatara's ability to reproduce.


Research has shown that if surface sea temperatures rise hoki populations will decrease.
Hoki stocks are already collapsing due to over-fishing, and may not be able to sustain further pressure of rising sea temperatures due to climate change. More

Sooty shearwater

Sooty shearwaters (muttonbirds) fly from New Zealand to Russia each year, exploiting winds near the Equator to assist their journey. Climate change is widening the “dead zone” which the birds must cross to reach the favourable winds - and fewer shearwaters make the trip to return each year.


Hotter and drier conditions at the Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross breeding colony will make it increasingly difficult for albatrosses to breed. The ground temperature can reach 50 degrees Celsius, which forces nesting albatrosses to stand up, exposing their chicks to fly strike, and their eggs to overheating.


In cold winters bats tend to nest individually or in pairs in small tree cavities. In warmer winters bats are more active, forming larger roosts in larger cavities with larger entrances – which make them more vulnerable to predation by introduced pests.  Warmer winters caused by climate change could increase their vulnerability.