Thursday 16th July, 2015
A predator fence and onsite accommodation are being considered for Long Point/Irahuka as the Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust focuses its attention on its biggest yellow-eyed breeding site this year.
The trust wanted to make a ''big investment'' at its roughly 70ha Catlins reserve, which it bought in 2009, the trust's field manager, Dave McFarlane, said.
''It's not our biggest reserve by land area, but it's certainly got a lot of potential.''
Once plans were firmed up over the next 12 to 18 months, a substantial fundraising effort would be required, but the trust had had a meeting with a landscape architect at the reserve and a meeting with a builder was planned.
''We're very close to deciding what we're going to do.''
He said future predator control, including the possible predator fence, entailed ''big choices''.
''And they've all got dollar figures attached to them.''
A bigger grid of traps would require the trust to provide accommodation, or a ''work base'', on site.
It could provide accommodation for planting groups, researchers, the trust's staff and potentially those doing predator-control work who wanted to overnight at the reserve.
After ''two or three poor seasons'', the penguin population at the Catlins breeding colony was under pressure.
But the penguins' ocean environment was complex and dynamic, and at least on land the predator trapping done by members of the South Otago branch of Forest and Bird was working, Mr McFarlane said.
In 2014 there were 48 yellow-eyed penguin breeding pairs at Long Point and in 2015 there were 29.
''It is a significant drop and it is certainly cause for great concern and we're certainly taking it very seriously.
''If we could trap barracouta, for example, that would be a great, but on land we are reasonably confident that what's being done is doing a reasonable job for the penguins - that's the main thing.''
South Otago Forest and Bird chairman Roy Johnstone, who has done the predator-control work in the area with Jim Young since 2010, said the number of possums and rats caught in the 120 traps used at Long Point and nearby Cosgrove Creek had dropped off significantly after the Animal Health Board (now TBfree New Zealand) intervened several years ago.
He was optimistic this trapping year, which began on July 1, would continue to show the low predator numbers achieved at Long Point for the past two years.
''We're not seeing any sign of predation on yellow-eyed penguins,'' Mr Johnstone said.
''My interpretation of what's going on is we've managed to keep down the resident population and what we're getting is what's coming in from further north, basically.
''We're catching now what's migrating into the area.''
Monday 29th June, 2015
Yellow-eyed penguins and their conservation, a look into Westport life, Niue elders’ experience of living in New Zealand and union history are some of the topics granted funding in this year’s New Zealand Oral History Awards (NZOH).
“These awards enable people to tell their stories and ensure they are recorded for both current generations and those who follow,” Alison Parr, Senior Oral Historian, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (Ministry) said today.
“Nine oral histories have received a total of more than $55,000 in NZOH awards funding for projects which will make a significant contribution to understanding New Zealand’s history,” Alison Parr said.
Thursday 25th June, 2015
Endangered Stewart Island yellow-eyed penguins will benefit from tourism operators Real Journeys Cruise-for-a-Cause.
As the winners, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust will organise ‘Cruise-for-a-Cause’ involving a Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise on August 29th, 2015. The 70 donated berths will be sold through the Trust’s networks to raise funds in support of the yellow-eyed penguin monitoring on Stewart Island. The Trust has worked in this area since 1999 and found, over that period, penguin numbers have significantly decreased. For example, on neighbouring Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, a predator-free island, numbers of breeding pairs have decreased from 61 nests in 2001 to an estimated 36 in 2014.
This trip is the final preparation for Real Journeys staff training before the tourism season begins. Previously berths were for invited guests, but this year Real Journeys offered this unique fundraising scheme to charities to make a bigger difference for the chosen charity.
“Conservation is a big part of who we are and the work the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust intends doing on Stewart Island could make a huge difference to the future of these birds. It’s perfect for our first Cruise-for-a-Cause,” says Richard Lauder, Real Journeys Chief Executive.
The Trust has previously received support from Real Journeys through transport to and from Stewart Island. The Trust’s General Manager Sue Murray said “this win elevates the level of support the penguins will receive this year. This work was dependent on external funding which Cruise-for-a- Cause will supply”.
This new opportunity comes at an ideal time for the Trust, since having worked on the Island since 1999 it is now considered a core site for our conservation effort.