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Archives For Little blue penguin
By Wayne Beggs, Biodiversity Ranger in Akaroa.
We’re fortunate to have some passionate farmers, Mark Armstrong and Francis Helps, who love the local wildlife and who have been the driving force behind protecting the penguins on Banks Peninsula. They had grown up with penguins and were used to seeing them around and they became very concerned when numbers started to seriously decline in the nineties.
Mark and Francis didn’t muck around and bought their own predator traps to try and control the ferrets, stoats and feral cats that were decimating the local little blue and yellow-eyed penguin colonies.
Mark and Francis soon realised that they needed some help and sought support from the local DOC rangers. DOC ranger Robin Burleigh stepped in and added additional trap lines as well as assisting with monitoring the penguins.
Pōhatu is now home to the largest mainland little blue penguin colony (over 1200 pairs last count) in New Zealand and yellow-eyed penguin numbers are starting to creep back up.
A local vet, Susan Shannon, has volunteered her time to help with nest searching, mico-chipping penguin fledglings and providing emergency care for injured or sick penguins.
There are also two passionate volunteers, Thomas and Kristina, who really love penguins and put a lot of time and effort into caring for under weight, sick and injured penguins.
It’s thanks to the fantastic effort of all these people and organisations that the penguins on Banks Peninsula have a bright future.
By Suvi van Smit, Partnerships Ranger based in Westport
Timber and materials were kindly donated by the local Mitre 10 in Westport during Conservation Week and the Buller conservation volunteers group spent a day helping to build the new nesting boxes.
These volunteers are a group set up by DOC. They meet at DOC’s Northern West Coast District Office every fortnight and go out with a DOC ranger to do a variety of work for the day—planting, helping community groups, track maintenance, historic maintenance and an array of other jobs.
The volunteers helped to build ten nesting boxes. The hope is that baby penguins hatch in the boxes and are given a measure of protection against predators.
The boxes were placed out in a penguin colony at Charleston on the West Coast to create penguin homes for when the little blue penguins are nesting. The West Coast Blue Penguin Trust monitors the boxes throughout the year.
It was a great day had by all, bringing together a wonderful partnership between the community, business, volunteers and DOC staff.