Previous yellow-eyed penguin surveys:
- 1972: estimated 80 – 150 pairs (Russ & Nilsson)
- 1980’s: estimated 150 – 225 (Darby) and, based on new sightings, was subsequently adjusted:
- 1986: 200 – 250, and
- 1989: 250 – 350 breeding pairs
Northern islands and part of coast
- 1989: estimated 520 – 680 breeding pairs on the northern islands including Enderby
No survey was conducted on the eastern harbours, most of Port Ross or most of Carnley Harbour.
- Chartered by the Department of Conservation’s Southern Islands Area Office
- Yacht Tiama skippered by Henk Haazen (pictured below)
Timeframe: departure from Bluff on Friday 6th November, two days sailing to arrive at the Auckland Islands where they will remain for 26 days (the maximum time permitted in the area), estimated arrival back at Bluff, Monday 7th December
Team: leader Jo Hiscock (Ranger, DOC), Sandy King (YEPT Project Officer Southern Islands), Leith Thomson (YEPT Ranger), Kate Beer (University of Otago Wildlife Diploma student), Jo Ledington (Ranger, DOC Kakapo Team) and Callum Lilley (Marine Ranger, DOC Taranaki).
Purpose: to survey the distribution of yellow-eyed penguins, also taking note of other species and, if time allows, gather information on population numbers.
Method: living aboard the Tiama the team will travel the entire eastern coastline (including Carnley Harbour), surveying areas in smaller water craft or by foot
Outcome: the results will help us understand more about this remote population
Some facts on Auckland Islands / Motu Maha / Maungahuka
- Discovered by Europeans in 1806, the Auckland Islands lie 460km south of Bluff at latitude 50º 44’ S.
- Size: The main island (40km long and 50,990 ha in area) is separated from Adams Island (10,119 ha) by Carnley Harbour (72 sq km in area). Other smaller islands include: Enderby (710 ha), Rose (75 ha) and Ewing 57 ha), and 6km off the west coast is Disappointment Island (566 ha).
- Geography: The highest peak on Auckland Island is Mt Raynal (644m), and on Adams Island is Mt Dick (705m). The west coast is an almost continuous line of sea-pounded cliffs reaching heights over 400m in places while the east coast is indented by a series of bays and long fiord-like inlets, with the land sloping steadily down to headlands at the open sea.
- The weather is commonly referred to as the ‘furious fifties’ and gales are common, the sunshine hours low; just all part of the cloudy nature of the islands. Annual precipitation ranges from 1000 – 1500mm pa and the mean annual temperature is 8ºC (summer range 10º – 16ºC and winter range 4º – 10ºC)
- Flora: There is a diverse range of flora from rata coastal forest to tundra-like tops, through shrubland, grassland and meadows of colourful megaherbs; vascular plant list totals 233, 84% (196 taxa) are indigenous.
- Fauna: There is also a diverse community of marine mammals, seabirds, land birds and invertebrate animals. 90% of sea lion breeding occurs here, and southern right whales frequent Port Ross in the winter for calving and mating. Seabirds include Gibson’s, southern royal, white-capped, and light-mantled sooty albatross; various petrel species; yellow-eyed, Eastern rockhopper and erect-crested penguins. Land birds include the Auckland Island shag; rail, snipe, teal, banded dotterel, tomtit and pipit; falcon, parakeet species
- Pests: Adams and Disappointment Islands are free of introduced animals, whilst pigs, cats and mice are found on Auckland Island. Enderby Island has now been cleared of rabbits and mice and is pest free, but the vegetation has been modified by these and cattle and so is recovering.
- Heritage sites: In 1998 the Sub-Antarctic Islands (Snares, Bounty, Antipodes, Auckland and Campbell) were declared a World Heritage Area and in January 2003 the Auckland Islands Marine Reserve (484,000 ha) was also included.
- Visiting the island is restricted by permit. A Tourism Impact Management Fee is levied on each visitor for the maintenance of facilities (tracks and boardwalks) and to help offset the cost of a visitor monitoring programme, quarantine contingencies and the assignment of a DOC representative on each trip.
- Subantarctic New Zealand – A Rare Heritage by Neville Peat (2003), published by Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai