22 September 2014

New Fiordland penguin project underway

NEW ZEALAND - The West Coast Penguin Trust has launched an exciting new project to look at how predators are contributing to the decline of the threatened Fiordland crested penguins.

The Department of Conservation awarded funding for the 3-year project at the end of August this year as part of its new Community Conservation Partnerships Fund. The project is based at Jackson Head, south of Haast and is also supported locally by Geoff Robson of Greenstone Helicopters.

Trail cameras have been installed close to penguin nests around the headland. They have been placed in a way that will minimise disturbance during people's weekly trips to replace batteries and memory cards and to pick up movement of penguins or predators. The motion-activated cameras will photograph and video the action during the breeding season until the chicks gather into large crèches.

The Trust is joining forces with penguin experts Thomas Mattern and Ursula Ellenberg of Eudyptes EcoConsulting, who are investigating the marine ecology of the penguins. They will help with the trail camera work while they also monitor the penguins' movements out to foraging areas for their study.

The Trust will create a new webpage soon to provide up-to-date news and images from these exciting new projects. Both projects will lead to a greater understanding of the threats to and the ecology of these threatened birds, which will mean practical projects can be directed at protecting and growing the population.

To donate to the Trust and be part of this exciting new chapter in its work, please contribute here.

New Fiordland crested penguin project funded and underway, 17 September 2014, West Coast Penguin Trust

18 September 2014

Count Antarctic penguins from the comfort of your armchair

An automated camera set up by
the Australian Antarctic Division at
Whitney Point near Casey station.
Photo credit: Colin Southwell
ANTARCTICA - Always wanted to count penguins in Antarctica? Well now you can, with the Penguin Watch project, launched today by University of Oxford.

The project, led by ‘penguinologist’ Dr Tom Hart, is part of broader penguin health research, which needs volunteers to count penguins in thousands of photographs taken by automated cameras monitoring colonies for Australian Antarctic Division and UK scientists.

Online volunteers will count adults, chicks and eggs in photographs from some 30 Antarctic and subantarctic colonies of gentoo, chinstrap, king, emperor and Adélie penguins.

01 September 2014

Missing little penguin's sad fate discovered

Little penguins at Taronga Zoo.
Photo credit: L A Warden

AUSTRALIA – A call from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) for information about a little penguin taken from Sydney’s Manly Wharf last week had a sad ending when it was revealed the bird had succumbed to its injuries over the weekend.

The distressed and injured little penguin was seen being put in a cardboard box on the east side of the wharf last Thursday, prompting NPWS to put out an appeal on Friday for information about where the troubled little bird had gone.