Shel­ter from stoats

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Lit­tle Blue Pen­guins may be­gin breed­ing in Whi­tireia Park thanks to some ace car­pen­try skills by Aotea Col­lege stu­dents.

Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil bio­di­ver­sity ad­viser Janey Hil­ford said lit­tle blue pen­guins are some­times seen in the water around Whi­tireia Park.

‘‘Porirua Har­bour and Whi­tireia Park are right on the edge of the city and are im­por­tant ar­eas for na­tive bio­di­ver­sity. The pen­guins cer­tainly seem to think so.’’

The Whi­te­ria Park Restora­tion Group, with Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil sup­port, has been work­ing with the com­mu­nity for a decade to re­store the park’s na­tive flora and fauna, said Ms Hil­ford.

Part of the group’s plan is to cre­ate safe nest­ing ar­eas for the lit­tle blue pen­guins.

‘‘The group has been im­prov­ing the po­ten­tial nest­ing habi­tat, while a ded­i­cated bunch of lo­cals trap the stoats that can kill pen­guins and eat their eggs and chicks. The re­gional coun­cil has been work­ing with stu­dents from Aotea Col­lege to build nest­ing boxes.’’

The boxes were placed in the scrub be­hind the beach, as that is where the pen­guins are likely to nest.

The boxes pro­vide them with shel­ter and are open at the bot­tom so the pen­guins can bur­row into the ground.

‘‘You might won­der how the pen­guins find the boxes but it’s a proven tech­nique that is work­ing well on the Welling­ton South Coast. If the pen­guins are swim­ming around in Porirua Har­bour, they will prob­a­bly come ashore to breed at some stage,’’ she said.

Lit­tle blue pen­guins are the small­est pen­guin species in the world. In­tro­duced preda­tors such as stoats, cats and dogs ma­jor threats to the lit­tle blue pen­guin, as is loss of suit­able nest­ing habi­tat.

Help­ing hand: Aotea Col­lege year 10 Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents Bradley Johns, left, and Joshua Roughan, right, ham­mer to­gether a pen­guin nest­ing box be­hind the dunes at Whi­tireia Park.

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