Friday 10th February, 2017
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust is on the hunt for a new Ranger to work in our reserves across coastal Otago and The Catlins. This position involves weed and pest control and penguin monitoring throughout the season.
As Ranger (Habitats), you will play a vital role in undertaking tasks to support the Trust's coastal conservation programme.
Tuesday 7th February, 2017
The Department of Conservation (DOC), Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and others have completed the annual yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho monitoring along the Otago and Southland coastline and estimate that there are 260 breeding pairs.
This number is still of concern given historically there were between 400-600 breeding pairs and the current number is a repeat of last year—the lowest for 25 years.
During the monitoring, some consistent issues were identified such as avian diphtheria in chicks and some unexplained adult deaths.
The avian diphtheria in young chicks is treated through the removal of lesions and supplementary feeding if required. However, the unexplained adult deaths require further investigation.
DOC’s Coastal Otago Operations Manager Annie Wallace says “a small number of dead adult yellow-eyed penguins have recently been found as part of regular penguin nest monitoring. This is not unusual for this time of year however we are mindful of the 2013 event where 67 adult penguins died, an event that only affected yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho adults. We are working with Wildbase of Massey University to determine the likely cause of these deaths. In the interim we are increasing the frequency of monitoring penguin sites”.
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust science advisor Trudi Webster says “Because of the 2013 event, we are being proactive in collating environmental data and collecting several samples from the dead penguins for testing. We plan to use analysis of these results to compare to the 2013 event”.
In the meantime any penguin chicks who have lost their parents are taken to one of the rehabilitation centres along the Otago coastline for supplementary feeding and care until they fledge. Penguin chicks are due to fledge (go to sea) from mid-February so it is important that they are well fed and have a good body weight to ensure their survival.
The routine monitoring is an opportunity to also identify underweight adult birds which are then taken into rehabilitation for supplementary feeding before they enter their annual moult. This is a period where the penguins remain on land for approximately three weeks to shed their old feathers for a new set.
“Please call DOC’s Hotline on 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468 if you come across yellow-eyed penguins along the Otago and Southland coastline and are concerned about their condition, describing as accurately as possible when and where the bird was found” says Annie Wallace.
Operational matters: DOC Coastal Otago Operations Manager, Annie Wallace, phone 027 499 5180
Technical matters: DOC Wildlife Vet & Wildlife Health Co-ordinator, Kate McInnes, phone 027 480 3365
Conservation or Science advice: Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust General Manager Sue Murray 021 488 285 or Scientist, Trudi Webster, phone 021 26444 32
Thursday 19th January, 2017
This week the Trust welcomed back specialist vet Dr. Lisa Argilla. We've contracted Lisa to provide hospital services, mainly for yellow-eyed penguins and other seabirds.
The next few months is a critical time for yellow-eyed penguin chicks who will start to fledge.
The first of Lisa's patients is a yellow-eyed penguin from the Catlins which two surfers noticed was injured and reported to us prior to Christmas.
Lisa's gained some publicity since arriving and you can read more below: