Posted on December 10th, 2006 No comments
(Press release 12 December 2006)
Stewart Island’s yellow-eyed penguin population faces an uncertain future after a devastating breeding season in which just one chick of 32 survived.
The less than 3 percent breeding success rate is the worst since monitoring began four years ago when the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust started its five year research programme into the island’s declining penguin population.
Trust executive officer Sue Murray said the shocking death rate was a blow to the trust who had hoped to uncover the mystery surrounding the plight of one of the world’s rarest penguins. “We still have more questions than answers as to why the chicks are dying. This disastrous season highlights the need for more research, but with funding set to cease next year, the programme’s future and that of the island’s penguin population hang in the balance.”
Earlier this year the trust publicised its own plight, having to dip into its capital reserves for last year’s project. A combination of funding grants secured the support needed for this monitoring season with assistance from the Community Trust of Southland, Dancing Star Foundation, WWF-NZ and some local Stewart Island businesses.
Ms Murray said it was frustrating to have come this far, but not yet be able to know why the island’s penguin chicks were dying of starvation or disease. It was hoped samples sent to Massey University would be able to determine whether it was starvation or disease that was the main contributing factor in the chicks’ deaths. Researchers were also considering the impact recent extreme weather conditions brought on by the El Nino year might have had on the breeding season. “To be able to have another couple of years monitoring the situation, comparing research and variables, might give us the information needed to halt the decline,” Ms Murray said.
This season’s monitoring along Stewart Island’s Anglem coast found 20 nests – down from 21 in 2005 and 27 in 2003. Of the 40 eggs laid, only 32 hatched and just one chick survived.
Posted on November 10th, 2006 No comments
In October, Mainland launched the “Help Our Sea Friends” promotion featuring the Trust’s new patron, Anton Oliver.
The promotion, which ran for eight weeks, included on-pack stickers, in store displays, and a weekly segment on TV2′s Saturday morning kids show, Squirt TV – ensuring high visibility for the campaign and the Trust.
To enter, consumers were asked to send in two barcodes from Mainland processed cheese products. Every entry received an individually numbered “Help Our Sea Friends” educational poster featuring eight interesting and endangered animals from around New Zealand’s coastline.
The poster put consumers into the draw to win one of ten Sea Horse Fund accounts worth $1,000 each. Squirt viewers were also asked a question each week that would enable them to win one of ten great prizes of their choice: Rebel Sports vouchers; Sounds music voucher; and more.
For every entry received, Mainland was able to donate an extra $1 to the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust over and above the $50,000 it currently donates every year!
We hope that you will continue to support such consumer promotions. Promotions like “Help Our Sea Friends” not only to raise the profile of the Trust but also provide additional funds to help continue the development of habitats, predator control, research, and education programmes.
Posted on September 10th, 2006 No comments
September 2006 – Thank you all for your continued patience as negotiations continue to secure this important habitat for penguins and other coastal species. Further visits to the area and meetings have been held and we hope to bring you updates in the very near future. Our own patience is continually inspired as we are reminded that “Good things take time” – the motto of our main sponsor, Mainland Brand.
June 2006 – The negotiations are still bubbling away as we try to purchase this important piece of land. A very positive meeting with interested parties was held on June 16th and we hope to bring you good news in the near future. In the meantime, in the words of our main sponsor, Mainland Brand, “Good things take time!”
April 2006 – Our sincere thanks to all our supporters. We have been overwhelmed by your generosity to this urgent appeal. The land purchase is still under negotiation so please be patient. Further donations are welcome. Thanks again for all your help.
February 2006 – The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust has a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a stunning stretch of the Otago Coastline containing over 40 pairs of yellow-eyed penguins. This represents 10% of the entire population of penguins on mainland New Zealand.
This coastal jewel has significant natural values as well as being a prime penguin nesting habitat. It also supports NZ fur seals, NZ sea lions, numerous seabird species, rare coastal plant communities, small remnants of native forest, an archaeological site, and potential development for a recreational coastal walkway.
Act Now – Time is of the essence and we are seeking major donations to assist with this purchase, although don’t forget that every dollar counts! Buying this land will ensure that the nesting habitat is protected for our future generations.
Posted on May 10th, 2006 No comments
Our long time friend and patron Beverley, Lady Reeves, decided it was time to hand over her role as patron of the trust, which she had held since 1988, as “age was creeping up” – not that you could tell. And, since it was made public in the Otago Daily Times, the 72-year old wife of former Governor General Sir Paul Reeves said, “Anton, if I was 20 years younger, you wouldn’t be getting a look in.”
Yes that’s right, Anton Oliver is now our patron. In reply, Anton said, “I was really humbled that you thought I could make a contribution.” He saw the role as promoting the yellow-eyed penguin and educating young people about their environment and its importance. Handing over the spade-of-office ceremony happened at a special planting day on April 22nd at the Margaret Hazel site at Okia Reserve. Fifty people turned up to witness the handing over of the ‘spade’, a bright yellow one which we had inscribed “From Beverley to Anton”, but not before 350 native shrubs were planted. It was a great day, with great weather and great people, at a great place. After all the planting, speeches and photographs, the Broad Bay Community Centre supplied us with lunch and Beverley and Anton cut a huge cake which was shared around.
We are all sad to see Beverley go but we know we have a replacement in Anton who will champion our cause. So give Anton a special cheer as he leads the Highlanders onto the field or perhaps even as captain of the All Blacks once again.