13 June 2017

Council frustrated by more dog-related penguin deaths

NEW ZEALAND – Another dog attack in Wellington resulting in the death of two little blue penguins has highlighted the importance of careful supervision of dogs – even in off-leash exercise areas.

The most recent incident occurred in the off-leash exercise area at Houghton Bay beach on Saturday 10 June. This attack closely follows the death of a little blue penguin on Wellington’s waterfront last month.

Both attacks are a stark reminder of the need to keep all dogs on a leash where required, and strictly monitored when not, said Councillor Peter Gilberd, who holds Wellington City Council's Natural Environment Portfolio.

11 June 2017

Finding new homes won't help emperor penguins cope with climate change

ANTARCTICA – If projections for melting Antarctic sea ice through 2100 are correct, the vanishing landscape will strip emperor penguins of their breeding and feeding grounds and put populations at risk. But like other species that migrate to escape the wrath of climate change, can these iconic animals be spared simply by moving to new locations?

Stephanie Jenouvrier with young emperor penguins.
Photo credit: Stephanie Jenouvrier,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
According to new research led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), they cannot. Scientists report that dispersal may help sustain global emperor penguin populations for a limited time, but, as sea ice conditions continue to deteriorate, the 54 colonies that exist today will face devastating declines by the end of this century. They say the emperor penguin should be listed as an endangered species. The study was recently published in the journal Biological Conservation.

“We know from previous studies that sea ice is a key environmental driver of the life history of emperor penguins, and that the fifty-percent declines we’ve seen in Pointe GĂ©ologie populations along the Antarctic coast since the 1950s coincide with warmer climate and sea ice decline,” said Stephanie Jenouvrier, WHOI biologist and lead author of the study.