The Moa were a group of flightless birds native to New Zealand. There were 10 species of the bird. The Moa is related to the Ostrich and Emu and other extinct flightless birds, of which there were many. The Moa was a huge bird getting as big as 12 feet tall and more than 500 pounds, other of the birds were perhaps 20 lbs and about 2 feet tall. Their size varied greatly from species to species.
The Moa went extinct, according to conventional science, around the 1800's but people are still reporting seeing the animal today.
You might think would be difficult for birds of that size and of course smaller birds to hide on such a small pair of islands as New Zealand but there are many wild places in the country. There have been a good number of sightings during the 1980's and 1990's on the south island. There continue to be sightings to this day.
The Maori, the native people of New Zealand, used the bird for food and it is thought that this was a major cause for their extinction. Although this has been disputed in recent years because of the Maori reverence for nature. So while the Maori might not have been responsible for their extinction they certainly did dine upon the bird.
The Moa is the only living flightless bird that has no vestigial wing. Other flightless birds such as the Ostrich do have vestigial wing parts. These other birds have wing parts that you can still see. This is one feature that sets the Moa apart from its living relatives. Extinct relatives of the Moa
may have had no vestigial wings as well, but that is difficult to know for certain.
Europeans first found bones of the Moa in the 1830's and in 1839 Richard Owen determined that it was the femur of a bird. He surmised that the bird would have had to have been at least as large as an Ostrich, according to Owen.
Backpackers and hikers love the south island of New Zealand. It is a beautiful place, there are some marvelous wilderness areas for people to explore, and it is great for those kinds of activities. Many people roam the wilds of New Zealand and it has been on some of these trips that backpackers have claimed to have seen Moas in the more wild areas of the country. There are also those who have claimed to have taken photographs of the supposedly extinct Moa.
So between photographs and those who have claimed to have seen them while backpacking and camping it does make one wonder if the Moa happens to still be alive, roaming in the wilderness regions of the south island of New Zealand. It would do a lot for the tourism for the small island nation of New Zealand if the Moa were found to be still alive.