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

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