Annual Report celebrates progress for penguins

Gari as a juvenile penguin cThe West Coast Penguin Trust bases its conservation work on sound science.  That science continues to underpin improved understanding of the threats facing penguins and seabirds in the region for improved conservation management, and the Annual Report, published today, updates readers on all of our projects.

Long term data sets are invaluable and these have been maintained for blue penguins (kororā) through monitoring, particularly in the Charleston and wider Buller areas. 

More recent projects include the GPS foraging study to better understand the marine ecology of blue penguins.  Our work contributed to a paper in the NZ Journal of Zoology earlier this year and work will continue in the coming season to increase our knowledge of blue penguin behaviour at sea and potential threats there.

Our project to determine whether and if so which predators pose a threat to Fiordland crested penguins or tawaki has found that stoats appear to be a major threat during massive seed (mast) years.  A fourth season of work is now planned to gain a clearer understanding of the situation in South Westland.

The Annual Report celebrates the Trust’s new formal relationships with Taronga Conservation Society Australia (at Taronga Zoo in Sydney) and Wellington Zoo, which will support ‘The Tawaki Coalition’, our collaboration with The Tawaki Project to further conservation management for tawaki.  These mutually advantageous relationships arose from the care of a very special tawaki, Gari.  Gari found a new home at Tarongo Zoo recently after some 30 months in the care of Wellington Zoo’s The Nest Te Kōhanga, having been found injured on the beach at Hokitika in 2014.

Our work to monitor and protect seabirds at Cape Foulwind and adjacent Wall Island continues and a new project is getting underway at Seal Island, north of Punakaiki. 

Having completed a review of Westland petrel research and current knowledge last year, we’re delighted to take on a field-based role in the conservation of Westland petrels.  This season, we are picking up the monitoring of one colony from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa team, who have studied the wider colony area for many years.

As always, the Annual Report is a useful opportunity to thank our supporters and particularly those who provide grants and donations.  A big thank you to you all.

For more on these topics and other projects, please have a look at our Annual Report: West Coast Penguin Trust Annual Report 2016-17