DALeast recently participated in the Dunedin Mural Project in New Zealand, with a wall located on 25 Stafford Street. The subject of his mural, titled Defoliation, is the landing motion of Haast’s eagle—an extinct indigenous species from the south island of New Zealand, commonly accepted to be the Pouakai of Maori legend. The species was the largest eagle known to have existed. Its prey is suspected to have consisted of moa. This eagle’s massive size may have been an evolutionary response to the size of its prey, as both would have been much smaller when they first came to the island, and would have grown larger over time due to lack of competition. Haast’s eagle became extinct around 1400, when its major food source (the moa) were hunted to extinction by Maori, and much of its dense-forest habitat was cleared by them as well.
* Photos courtesy of the artist