Collaboration and partnerships for tawaki

Fiordland crested penguins, Jan 2006, Open Bay Island Inger (low res)The West Coast Penguin Trust and The Tawaki Project have been working together for the past three years and have recently formed The Tawaki Coalition to present a single voice for tawaki to our new conservation partners, Wellington Zoo and Taronga Zoo (Sydney).

We are indebted to Gari the Fiordland crested penguin or tawaki, found injured on the West Coast in December 2014, and nursed back to health by the excellent vet team at Wellington Zoo’s The Nest Te Kōhanga, for helping us build a relationship with Wellington Zoo, and through them, with Taronga Zoo.  

As a result, we recently signed agreements to formalise our role as conservation partners with both zoos, and both are supporting the work of The Tawaki Coalition with grants from their conservation funds.  

This year, the grants will support our fourth year of research into the threats to the survival of tawaki, both on land in South Westland in work carried out by the West Coast Penguin Trust, and at sea as The Tawaki Project continues to investigate the marine ecology of these threatened penguins throughout their range – Stewart Island to South Westland. 

The breeding season for tawaki is now underway and 30 trail cameras are set up in three locations in South Westland with the aim of recording any predator activity.  The Trust aims to complete this four year study early in the new year and make conservation management recommendations as to how, when and where appropriate predator control may need to be implemented to prevent the decline of the species. 

In the meantime, The Tawaki Project are gearing up for their work, undertaken soon during the chick rearing stage when adults are back and forward, feeding their chicks.  

Wellington Zoo Logo - Mono

Taronga Conservation SocietyTawaki project

Gari the tawaki waking up from a health check at The Nest Te Kōhanga (taken Feb 2015)

Gari the tawaki waking up from a health check at The Nest Te Kōhanga (taken Feb 2015)