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Rakiura tramper unaware of lockdown

A tramper was walking the remote North West Circuit on Rakiura when the country went into lockdown. Photo: Andrew Purdam

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An Invercargill tramper was enjoying a solo trip on the 125km North West Circuit when the country went into Level 4 lockdown.

Kreig​ Leitchze​ started the tramp on August 13, four days before the lockdown was announced, and didn’t find out about it until August 21 when he came into cell reception near Bungaree Hut.

“I realised that the world can change very quickly in such a short time, so I felt the isolation acutely,” he said.

Leitchze was well equipped and experienced, and decided to stay put as “every other poor bastard is locked down at home”. 

He posted on social media that he was stuck, and a friend organised for him to stay at a residence on the island.

“It’s been an adventure for sure,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Plea to stop promos of photogenic lupins

Conservationists are urging people to dob in photographs containing lupins.

The Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board (CACB) has asked its members to report any lupin imagery seen in promotional material, including logos, advertising and photography.

Despite its popularity with photographers, the plant pest has a negative impact on native birds and waterways.
Lincoln University professor of plant biosecurity Philip Hulme said turning tourism operators off the plant may be difficult.

“They are quite spectacular. I’ve got a photo of my daughters in front of a backdrop of lupins. Places like the regional tourism board should stop, but it’s going to be very hard with individual commercial operators,” he said.

CACB has suggested the Mt Cook Lily would be an appropriate alternative for marketing.

Read the full story here.

Ancient relative of the tuatara discovered in Argentina

The fossilised skull of an ancient relative of the tuatara has been discovered in Argentina.

Named Taytalura alcoberi, the skull belongs to the lepidosaur group, which includes lizards, snakes and tuatara. 

Its features resemble the tuatara more than living lizards and snakes, and the finding marks an important missing piece in the movement of lepidosaur.

“Taytalura teaches us that we were missing important information by looking not only for bigger animals, but for also thinking that the origin of lizards occurred only in the Northern Hemisphere as evidence seemed to support until now,” paleontologist Sebastián Apesteguía said.

Read more here.

Sleeping bag designed for mobility and wet

Sitka’s new sleeping bag is different to most.

Marketed as a mobile warmth layering system, the Kelvin Aerolite 30 was designed to be worn on the move, as well as in bed.

With a tapered hood, arm holes and a lower zip for leg access, the bag is well suited to those who may be up and down often in the night.

Its lightweight synthetic insulation is designed to not only work when wet, but help dry damp clothing layers.
“We took experience and insights designing clothing systems and applied that knowledge to the sleeping bag, turning something you typically use just for sleep into a multifunctional tool for backcountry use,” Sitka product manager John Barklow said.

Read more here.