The Blue Penguin is the world’s smallest penguin at just 35-43cm tall, and weighing a little over 1 kg. It is found in many places around New Zealand and Australia and is a protected native species. The Blue Penguin population is declining throughout New Zealand. On the West Coast it is estimated Blue Penguins only number in the high hundreds to low thousands. Blue penguins need our protection from coastal development, predators, dogs and traffic.
Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson has been selected to sail off to the lands of penguins this summer, as one of the leaders on an expedition to commemorate the original Australasian Antarctic Expedition 100 years ago.
During the Conservation Inc community conservation conference in Dunedin last month, Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson was one of those interviewed for yesterday’s Radio New Zealand Insight programme, presented by Philippa Tolley. The subject was “Changes at DOC” and you can listen here: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight
We have always wanted to expand our work to include other West Coast seabirds in particular Tawaki (Fiordland crested penguin), and that looks likely to happen next year. We are currently working with DOC to develop a multi-party partnership focused on Tawaki conservation.
Blue penguin numbers seem to be declining on the West Coast according to the results of the eighth annual survey. Where the same stretches of beach have been surveyed in both 2012 and 2013, penguin tracks counted were down from 397 to 338 this year. Weeks of stormy weather led to a worse than average season for penguins in 2011, and a lower penguin count in that year.
|Scientific Name||Eudyptula minor|
|Common Names||Little Penguin, Blue Penguin, Little Blue Penguin, Fairy Penguin|
|Colour||Slate blue plumage; white chin, throat and shirt front; blue-grey flippers|
|Breeding range||New Zealand, Chatham Islands, Southern Australia|
The Trust and its work in brief (50 seconds)!