More needs to be done to save the yellow-eyed penguins as there numbers reduce in the wild.
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust field manager Dave McFarlane said with the penguin numbers facing dramatic decreases, people who work with and are concerned about these unique birds are having to focus on individual bird’s welfare more now because there were so few left.
‘‘Lots of people are working together to save them, with them only found in a few coastal South Island areas and Sub- Antarctic Islands,’’ he said.
‘‘Numbers are dropping as seen on Otago Peninsula where there were more than 180 breeding pairs but 2015- 2016 season saw only 68 pairs, while at Long Point there were usually 50 pairs and now only nine pairs.’’
Major unexpected events like avian disease, starving adults and chicks and barracoota bites have impacted on the existing population.
About 82 per cent of fledged chicks do not survive to be breeding adults.
‘‘We know about their habitat needs on land but not what affects them in the marine environment,’’ McFarlane said. ‘‘We are integrating science with conservation management, collaborating with Otago and Massey yniversities, and there is even a proposal for a wildlife hospital in Dunedin which could give immediate care to hurt birds, all in an effort to save them.’’
Southland District Council customer support partner Monica Dolan with some of the new tablets which will be loaned out for free to library members around Southland to allow them to experience electronic books.