Tuesday 1st April, 2014
Some difficult strategic decisions will need to be made by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust this year as it reaches a turning point in penguin conservation.
The trust, which is in its 28th year, has traditionally focused its work on increasing penguin numbers by protecting them and their habitats on land.
However, it was becoming increasingly apparent that what happened to the penguins at sea needed to be better understood, trust general manager Sue Murray said.
''It's a big turning point in penguin conservation.''
This had been reinforced by mass mortality in 2013 and starvation problems this summer.
Combined, the two events had resulted in nest numbers halving at the trust's Otago Peninsula colonies - Okia Reserve dropped from 13 to 5 and Otapahi ffrom 19 to 5.
Added to that, the trust had posted a financial loss of $33,000 for the 18-month period from October 2012.
Like every non-profit organisation, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust was struggling for funds, although it had strong support from many sectors thanks to having a charismatic bird people loved, she said.
''The challenge is we've expanded so much that we have a constant requirement for resources.''
The issue was highlighted by trust chairman Eric Shelton in his report to this week's annual meeting.
''This coming financial year will be challenging and will require making some difficult strategic decisions involving the allocation of resources,'' Mr Shelton said.
Mrs Murray said while the past nearly three decades' work meant those involved in penguin conservation had a good understanding of the penguins' biology, breeding and habitat, much was not known about the marine environment where they sourced their food.
Finding out why so few returned to Otago's shores after fledging was just one question which needed answering, she said.
Getting a better understanding of that environment required costly research and monitoring. How that fitted in with the trust's core work needed to be considered.
''They are so much more difficult to resource.''
This year, the trust would be considering how to advance ''in-house'' science to help guide its work in the future.
''Maybe we need to fund research.''
The trust had also commissioned Wildland Consulting to review its work on Stewart Island and help guide its future work there, given resource limitations.
• For the first time, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust has its full complement of 15 trustees. At this week's annual meeting, Murray Brass and David Smith were elected to the board for the first time, while Lala Frazer and Mike Morrison were re-elected.
They joined the trustees co-opted last year, Nigel Stirling, Jesse James and Luke Gardener, and existing members chairman Eric Shelton, Margaret Munell, Euan Kennedy, Linda Reynolds, Pat Mark, Peter Simkins, Hoani Langsbury and Tim Mepham.
Monday 17th March, 2014
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s work involves the conservation of coastal ecosystems that include yellow-eyed penguin breeding habitats. It has protected yellow-eyed penguin habitats along the Otago and Southland coastlines by establishing penguin reserves, providing fencing to protect nests from wandering stock, replanting breeding areas with native trees and shrubs produced at its own nursery (15,000 per annum), trapping predators such as stoats and ferrets, funding research and advocacy, and educating about the need for penguin conservation.
The Trust is seeking two part-time assistants (two 8-hour days per week, non-negotiable between Tuesday and Friday) with preference for these roles being filled by one person although applying for one or the other separately is also welcomed. We wish to extend our staffing by re-establishing the nursery assistant (a position vacated at the end of 2013) and a second ranger.
The nursery assistant will assist with the production of plants for trust reserves and for sale to other conservation projects. The ranger will assist with ongoing reserve management work on all trust reserves, as well as being part of the team that undertakes annual yep monitoring at these reserves.
It is essential the applicant has an understanding of conservation and the environment. Both jobs require someone with a high level of physical fitness as it involves regular heavy work.
Applications must include a CV and evidence of the requirements as listed in the Role Description downloadable below]. These should preferably be sent electronically to email@example.com or posted to Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust; P O Box 5409, Dunedin 9058.
Applications close at 12 noon on Monday 31st March 2014.
Ranger [download job description]
To assist in all aspects of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s reserve management work that will involve travel between North Otago and the Catlins.
Specific skills for this position include:
- pest animal and weed control skills
- species monitoring experience an advantage
- experience with chainsaws, scrub bars and other motorised equipment
- Growsafe certificate an advantage
Nursery Assistant [download job description]
To assist in all aspects of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust Nursery operation to produce native plants for coastal habitats, based on the Otago Peninsula
Specific skills for this position include:
- sound native plant knowledge
- background in horticulture or botany
Tuesday 25th February, 2014
The Trust was delighted to have help from 6 University of Otago Cumberland Hall students on Wednesday 19 February.
While some students arriving at Otago may have a range of recreational activities in mind , the 6 from Cumberland Hall were keen to assist Leith Thomson (Trust Ranger) and David McFarlane (Field Manager) with plant releasing at the Trust’ Okia Reserve.
Volunteering for community causes has become a regular feature of O Week and is facilitated by the recently established University Volunteer Centre.
For most of the group it was the first time they had been down the Otago Peninsula, and were surprised to find that they were the only people on the 3km long Victory Beach that borders the reserve.
Cumberland Hall volunteer, Leigh Edlinger who is also a volunteer lifeguard in her home town of Auckland, commented that there she was more used to several thousand people at Piha.
Year old native plantings established to provide future nesting habitat for yellow-eyed penguins were released from competing exotic lupin with loppers and pruning saws.
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust hopes to develop the relationship with Cumberland Hall in the rest of 2014.