In a heroic NZ news moment, a wētā took a shit live on the AM show.
During a live crossover to Auckland Zoo, Dom McFarlane, the zoo’s exotherm curator, was holding a wētāpunga (giant wētā) and talking about how large the insect’s poops are. Then, in some miraculous timing, the little fella let it rip and dropped a deuce on live TV.
“And that’s what gives nutrients to our soil,” the reporter said as the insect was mid-poop.
“That is a good reason why we are restoring these animals back,” McFarlane added, referencing the poo in his hands.
Wētāpunga have one of the largest poo sizes in relation to body size in the animal kingdom. Their droppings leave a whole bunch of nutrients on the forest floor, ensuring plenty of plants have something to feed on.
Auckland Zoo just re-introduced over 300 wētāpunga into the Bay of Islands, where they were abundant up until the 1840s. Around that time, the population sharply decreased due to introduced predators.
The zoo has been working on bringing the species back to the islands for nearly 20 years as they are a very crucial part of the ecosystem there. McFarlane says their success in doing so is an incredible thing, adding that Kiwis should appreciate the wētā more.
“It's amazing to start releasing them back from whence they came,” he told 1News. “It's a real homecoming.”
“If most people stop for a moment, resist the recoil you sometimes see with people when they first see a wētāpunga, and just watch them move - the way those feathery antennae waft around looking for the next place to put a foot - I think they'll see a beauty.”
“There is a beauty in the very act of putting something back that was once missing. It's redressing a balance. So it's a beautiful animal and this is a beautiful experience. It feels great."
The bloke is passionate about wētā and we love to see it.