Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The West Coast Penguin Trust begins new project!

Fiordland-crested-penguin - KJW

The West Coast Penguin Trust has just embarked on an exciting new project to establish the predators that are contributing to the decline of the threatened Fiordland crested penguins.

Funding was announced by the Department of Conservation at the end of August for a number of community conservation projects including the Trust’s tawaki project based at Jackson Head, south of Haast.  The new Community Conservation Partnerships Fund was launched earlier this year and the Trust applied for and was awarded funding for the three year project, which is also supported locally by Geoff Robson of Greenstone Helicopters.

Trail cameras have been installed close to tawaki nests around the headland in such a way as to minimise any disturbance during weekly trips to replace batteries and memory cards and to pick up movement of penguins or predators.  The motion activated cameras will be in place during the breeding season until the chicks gather into large crèches and will both photograph and video the action.

2014-08-26 tawaki Jackson Head - Reuben Lane c
A Fiordland crested penguin clambers carefully over large boulders at Jackson Head, south of Haast. Photo: Reuben Lane

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

The Trust will be creating a new webpage for the project soon to provide up to date news and images from these exciting new projects.  Both of the projects will lead to a greater understanding of the threats to and the ecology of these threatened birds so that practical projects can then be directed at protecting and growing the population.

Donations for the work of the Trust are needed now more than ever so if you would like to feel a part of this exciting new chapter of the Trust’s work, you can contribute here: Donate Now.  Thank you!

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