Travel book: A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand

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A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand
by Ken Tustin
Halcyon Press, $40

A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand by Ken Tustin. Photo / Supplied
A (Nearly) Complete History of the Moose in New Zealand by Ken Tustin. Photo / Supplied

Moose were released in Westland in 1900 and in Fiordland in 1910 but unlike other such introductions they were not a success. The last official sighting of a moose was in 1952 ... and for most people that is where the story ends.

But not for hunter, helicopter pilot, scientist and guide Ken Tustin, who has spent the last few decades compiling evidence that a small number have survived in the wilds of Fiordland.

A bit of an eccentric you might think.

Or maybe not.

I met Ken during a trip to Fiordland a few years ago and after hearing his stories, hearing the evidence he has collected, visiting his base camp in Wet Jacket Arm and even seeing some bushes browsed by an animal much taller than a deer, I was convinced.

This book makes an even stronger case, including the DNA analysis of hair samples collected in Fiordland between 2002 and 2005, two of which were found by a Canadian laboratory to have come from moose.

It all goes to make for a great yarn, it's rather nice to think that a few of these huge, shy animals have survived in our densest bush ... and it's one more reason to visit the wonderful, misty, mysterious Fiordland National Park.

- NZ Herald

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