12. Flora and fauna
The endemic vegetation of New Caledonia is particularly rich and varied. There are about 3000 species, three fourths of which are endemic. Isolation and the geologic and climatic characteristics of the island account for this original feature. There are marshlands, dry forests, bush, wet forests and swamps.
When the Europeans arrived, there were very few mammals in New Caledonia: the flying fox, some bats and rodents, rats and mice. There was, however, an abundance of birds (about 20 endemic species), including:
- the famous cagou, symbol of New Caledonia (Rhynochetos jubatus), which is a protected species but can still be seen, especially in the Rivière Bleu park;m
- the crested parakeet of Ouevea (Eunymphicus cornutus uveaensis) also a protected species with a very small number left;
- the notou and many other pigeons.
The marine life is diverse and New Caledonia is known for its coral reefs and its seabed, where numerous original marine animals can be found.