Sav­ing pen­guins

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE -

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.’’

PHOTO: MARY WIT­SEY/ 632597802

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.

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