Long Point / Irahuka, Catlins
Photo: Otago Daily Times
Purchased in 2009 by equal partners Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the Minister of Conservation’s Nature Heritage Fund, the area contained more than 48 pairs of breeding yeps, representing more than 10% of the entire mainland New Zealand population of yellow-eyed penguins (estimated to be about 422 pairs in 2011). In 2011, the reserve held an estimated minimum of 50 nests.
Long Point is on a stunning stretch of Otago coastline. The area is complex but, together with existing Department of Conservation reserves, it protects a 12 km stretch of coastline and marginal strips. As well as being a prime penguin nesting habitat, this coastal jewel has significant natural values. It also supports New Zealand fur seals, New Zealand sea lions, numerous seabird species, rare coastal plant communities, small remnants of native forest, and an archaeological site. It is intended to manage this to encourage expansion of a number of sea birds, not just yellow-eyed penguins.