Marlborough Mammals

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Marlborough, like the rest of New Zealand has virtually no terrestrial mammals, however does provide a home to a number of marine mammals. Mammals are distinguished from other vetebrates by producing milk in mammary glands to feed their young.

Marlborough has a population of the endangered long tailed bats in Te Hoire/Pelorus catchment. These are one of only two indigenous terrestrial mammalian species in New Zealand.

Around the coast, New Zealand fur seals are relatively common, and New Zealand sea lionsĀ  can also be found. In the waters of the Marlborough Sounds some dolphin species can often be seen, while various whale species pass through Cook Strait and off Marlborough's east coast. Plentiful numbers of whales in the late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries were a key factor in Europeans establishing settlements in Marlborough in the form of whaling stations to hunt the then plentiful whales, although over hunting almost drove them to extinction.

Even including marine mammals, only a handful of indigenous mammalian species are present in the region.

Fur seals basking on a rock in the Marlborough Sounds

New Zealand Fur Seal (Kekeno)

Once hunted to near extinction for their meat and skins, NZ fur seals are now common around the Marlborough coast.