Monday 16th November, 2015
Joint media release from the Department of Conservation and Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust
The yellow-eyed penguin/hōiho breeding season is looking bleak again this year, with nest numbers reaching their lowest since 1990.
Department of Conservation (DOC), the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust (YEPT) and key groups involved with penguin monitoring have been counting nests for the past month. The results of this indicate nest numbers across Otago-Southland have dropped from 491 pairs in 2012 to just 160 counted so far this season. Some sites are still to be searched but numbers will probably not exceed 190 pairs.
DOC Coastal Otago Biodiversity Ranger Mel Young said “what we are seeing on the mainland is a significant reduction in breeding stocks, with negligible recruitment of young birds”.
The penguin communities will work closely together over the coming months to manage and mitigate detrimental events affecting hōiho survival throughout the breeding season. As well as DOC and YEPT, other parties involved are Penguin Rescue, Penguin Place, Southland Forest and Bird, Otago University, landowners, local Rūnanga and volunteers.
Patrol of monitoring areas will be increased throughout the season to ensure penguins are in good condition. Underweight or injured birds will be removed for treatment and rehabilitation.
Breeding adults, whose survival is essential for population stability, have been hardest hit over the last three years by several events. These included an unexplained mass mortality assumed to be from a toxic marine-based agent, widespread starvation of adults, juveniles and chicks, outbreaks of avian diphtheria in chicks, and high rates of barracouta attacks.
Mel said that “The cumulative nature of multiple mass mortalities is coming home to roost. Every bird is important, and we are doing our utmost at each site.”
YEPT General Manager Sue Murray said that “The long-awaited good breeding season has not happened and these repeated poor breeding seasons have major management implications. The Trust, over the coming months, will be part of the collaborative effort with staff and volunteers regularly checking beaches for sign of any distressed birds and monitoring nest sites”.
YEPT were pleased to report that further south on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, nest numbers were one up on last year with 33 nests found. Sue said “finding a chick marked from the 2011/12 season is the first evidence of recruitment since the 2007/08 season, but it is insufficient to keep up with normal mortality rates. No juveniles have been seen, so none of last year’s chicks are likely to enter the future breeding population”. Codfish Island is a predator-free island, but the Trust has observed significant declines in this region. Numbers have decreased from 61 breeding pairs in 2001 to the 32 found both last and now this season.
Thursday 5th November, 2015
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust is appointing a Conservation Science Adviser (CSA) to provide technical advice and information to the Trust and to collaborate in investigating the yellow-eyed penguins’ marine environment. The CSA will work also with Otago Museum to develop their collection.
The position will involve representing the Trust and Museum in a variety of roles; reviewing academic literature, producing a research agenda, doing field work, publishing in recognised media, and presenting at various fora.
It is essential the applicant has an understanding of conservation. The position requires someone also with an understanding of the demands of working in the natural environment, and who will be capable of meeting these.
Applications can be downloaded by clicking here >
Tuesday 13th October, 2015
When is a $5 note worth more than $5?
When the Reserve Bank of New Zealand takes one straight off the printing press, frames it and couriers it to your doorstep.
Or at least that is what the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust is banking on.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has given the trust one of the new series 7 $5 notes which are due to be released to the public on Monday, so it can be auctioned off to raise funds for ongoing penguin conservation projects.
Trust general manager Sue Murray was delighted with the donation.
''I think it's an awesome acknowledgement of the fact that the yellow-eyed penguin is still classed as an iconic New Zealand species, and would feature on something as prominent as a bank note.''
The hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) is found on the Otago Peninsula, and has been a familiar sight on the back of the New Zealand $5 note since 1999.
The new $5 note is part of an upgrade of New Zealand's banknotes, intended to improve banknote security through technical advances.
About 345,000 new notes will be introduced to banks progressively, starting with the $5 and $10 notes on Monday. The $20, $50 and $100 notes are expected to be released next April.
Mrs Murray said the trust had not yet decided how it would auction off the framed note, but was investigating auctioning it online.
While she had absolutely no idea what the note was worth, she was certain it would go for more than $5.
''It's very hard to get a good condition $5 note because they are the most used.''