15 Dec 2021

Best of 2021: Animal antics

9:38 am on 4 January 2022

We love a good animal yarn at RNZ. Here are some of the best from last year.

Do dogs really miss us when we are gone?

Dogs do care about others but don't read too much into their excitement when you get home.

Portrait of american beagle dog sits on the window and sadly looks out the window

Photo: 123RF

WATCH - The Weedfish

The hunt for a rarely-seen fish sends two marine scientists on a deep underwater dive into New Zealand’s disappearing kelp forests.


An unexpected friendship with a fox

One day, a wild fox turned up at the door of Catherine Raven's remote cabin in Montana. He came again the next afternoon - and the next.


Photo: Sunguk Kim / Unsplash


When nature and people collide

Science journalist Mary Roach is fascinated by how communities all over the world try to protect people and animals when our worlds collide.

A baby grizzly bear searches for food around a trash container in Inonu neighbourhood in Turkey on December 15, 2018.

Photo: Huseyin Demirci / Anadolu Agency via AFP


Sea lion crashes Dunedin soccer games

Players abandoned the field and parents scattered when a sea lion waddled up from Dunedin's Tomahawk Beach and onto Ocean Grove sports ground

Reuniting an orphan elephant with her mother - using DNA

When a very sick baby elephant wandered into a village in West Africa, the people knew she'd become separated from her herd and needed help. Four years later, Nania the elephant is thriving against the odds and may even be reunited with her mother.

Nania, her keepers and Celine Sissler-Bienvenu, walked 14kms with Nania to her new home. Along the way, the team stopped to feed and give her a mudbath.

Nania, her keepers and Celine Sissler-Bienvenu, walked 14kms with Nania to her new home. Along the way, the team stopped to feed and give her a mudbath. Photo: IFAW 2019


WATCH - The Zoom Goats of Cronkshaw Fold Farm

For a mere $10, you can have one of Dot McCarthy's goats join your Zoom call.


Sheep: Intelligent, exuberant, and often homosexual

It's true that sheep are followers but they're also very gregarious, says cultural historian Philip Armstrong.

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The Dogs of Chernobyl

Lucas Hixson cares for the stray dogs of Chernobyl -  offspring of pets abandoned when the former Soviet nuclear plant exploded in 1986.

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Photo: Clean Futures Fund

Arnold, the purr-fect police officer

The NZ Police have recruited a new "specialist search cat".

Turtles: one shell of a story

Turtles have been around for 250 million years and the current oldest living turtle - Jonathan - is 187.

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Photo: Unsplash

Championing the cephalopods

Cephalopods - in particular octopus and squid - are intelligent, gentle and vital to the oceans but often overlooked.

Common octopus (Octopus vulgaris). Wildlife animal.

Photo: 123RF

WATCH - Pet Day

Two horse-loving best friends are confused by their step-dads emotional reaction when they bring home a gift from their teacher in this short drama.


How much should be spent on saving wild animals?

The Detail asks why New Zealanders get so invested in saving wild animals that strand themselves.

Rescuers and volunteers keep watch over a stranded baby orca at Plimmerton, Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas


Henry - the chook who patrols a preschool car park 

'Henry' - as the female chicken was dubbed by the children of  Newstead Country Preschool - has been bestowed with her very own hi-viz jacket.

The healing power of horses

Horse trek guide Hone Smythe is putting his experience to use with prison inmates.


Photo: Silje Mitgard / Unsplash


WATCH - Night Ride

When a mother of ten returns nightly to the old family home to feed stray cats, her son questions its connection to the death of his brother.

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