Posted on November 15th, 2003 No comments
Three years of census work by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust has suggested that penguins may be in decline on Stewart Island. The cause and rate of this decline are not known, but feral cats are suspected to play a role because they are the only land-based predator on Stewart Island large enough to kill a penguin. The decline does not appear to be food related, as surveyed pest-free islands have healthier penguin populations.
Feral cats on Stewart Island were introduced from Europe. Early European settlers brought cats to New Zealand from 1769 onward, as a control agent on rat infested ships. However, it may have taken around fifty years for a feral population to become established on the mainland. Ships have visited Stewart Island since 1804, and in 1909 Cockayne reported cats to be “common”.
There is no evidence that they grow any larger than cats which live in a domestic setting. Male cats on Stewart Island average 3.4 kg and females 2.6 kg. Cats are efficient predators and hunt diurnally and nocturnally. They will live in almost all habitats. Their diet is composed mainly of rats (60%), although birds (19%) and invertebrates (15%) together compose a significant portion.
This research proposal covers a five-year study into whether the control of cats has a positive effect on the breeding success of yellow-eyed penguins on Stewart Island. One area will have as many cats killed as possible and another will be left as a control area. We are hopeful that this will show us that the fledging success in the targeted area is greater.
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust is seeking funding for a five-year study into the impact of cats on yellow-eyed penguins. The funding for year one has been guaranteed by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust (thanks to our unexpected donation from Contact Energy) and this will take place October 2003-March 2004. The project will again be supervised by our Projects Officer, David Blair.
Posted on November 10th, 2003 No comments
The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust was presented with a cheque for almost $100,000 by Conservation Minister Chris Carter on Saturday. The cheque for $98,383.50 was the first of three which will be presented to the Trust during the next three years to a total of $218,563.50.
The money granted after an application to the national Biodiversity Fund, will be used to fund a projects officer for three more years and to appoint a ranger who will work to maintain the revegetation programme.
Mr Carter said this was an important time for the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. “They will be able to put in place projects and programmes to maximise the survival of one of New Zealand’s icon species.”
Posted on October 10th, 2003 No comments
“Two for the price of one!” Passionate about plants, Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust nursery workers Margaret Suman and Anita Pillai have received funding from Vodafone New Zealand Foundation for 2004. They entered their “World of Difference” competition with the hope of securing one year’s funding for their salaries and expenses to continue their work at the Trust’s nursery.
As one of the eight national finalists selected from over 300 entries, of which only four would receive funding, it was a very anxious wait to hear the judges’ final decision.
Securing this funding means that Anita and Margaret can continue with their roles as co-managers of the nursery and receive payment for it. They had volunteered one year of their time to propagate the plants required for the penguin habitats after the nursery manager retired at the end of 2002. Funding restraints meant the Trust could not afford to replace him until external funding was found. Both are qualified in horticulture and botany and have huge job satisfaction from this work and supporting a worthy cause.
The Trust is indebted to Anita and Margaret for their passion which has won the funding for both them and the Trust. One judge was in awe of the comment “People, plants and penguins”.
And the Trust is indebted to Vodafone New Zealand Foundation for recognising this passion and giving an award to Margaret and Anita. We look forward to an exciting year working alongside Vodafone and the nursery co-managers.
Check out Margaret and Anita’s monthly diaries at the Vodafone World of Difference.
Posted on October 9th, 2003 No comments
The Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of David McFarlane to the position of ranger, which is being funded from the Biodiversity Condition fund.
Originally trained as a librarian, David has always had a great interest in conservation and his latter years of employment have reflected this interest. Since 1997 David has co-coordinated the Dunedin Branch – Forest & Bird Wilding Tree Team, eradicating wilding trees from areas of conservation value in Otago/Southland. More recently he has worked on the Forest & Bird Otanomomo Forest Restoration Project near Balclutha; both positions have involved working closely with many community groups and volunteers. David has also worked for the Coastal Otago Area Office, Department of Conservation undertaking fieldwork, including weed and pest control, track and facilities maintenance and community relations contracts.
We are delighted to welcome David to the team.
Posted on October 9th, 2003 No comments
The Trust was overjoyed when electricity retailer Contact Energy recently donated $50,000 to them. As part of Contact Energy’s ‘Community Conservation Challenge’, Dunedin consumers achieved 10% electricity savings. A total of $400,000 was donated to five local charities.
Sincere thanks to Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope for nominating the Trust as a potential recipient.
The Trust has allocated this donation to underwrite further research on Stewart Island – in particular to investigate the ecology and effect of cats on the yellow-eyed penguins breeding on the island.
Contact Energy’s initiative to involve their consumers in worthy causes during a time of power crisis is to be applauded. The Trust is extremely grateful for this wonderful donation. Thank you, Contact Energy.
Posted on May 14th, 2003 No comments
“As an incentive to help you reach the savings target of 10% of your regions regular power usage, we’ll donate up to $400,000 to pre-selected projects in the Dunedin area, including the Otago Therapeutic Pool’s new water treatment plant, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust, and Otago Youth Adventure Camps.”
So come on, everyone, help us by encouraging your workplace, friends and families to save power and ultimately help the Trust get some much needed funding. We are talking serious money and we have some wonderful projects just waiting for this kind of funding. Switch off and help save the penguins!