Hello friends and family
These days I do the beach checks in the morning to avoid the people who are here after 7:30pm when the reserve is closed, in case, by speaking to them about the consequences of their behaviour, I might upset them. In this way I can pretend that all is well – all I notice is the missing penguins. There are 5 Yellow-eyed penguins missing from the south end. Currently, the non-breeders and the failed breeders are moulting so they have no escape. The heat is tough enough but our birds deal with constant noise and movement until after dark each day.
Wednesday was the exception. In this case, the wild life harassment was outside my kitchen window as 2 visitors harassed a protected NZ Sealion for over 2 hours. We think visitor impact is fleeting but often it is not. The poor animal was goaded from 2:00pm until 4:30pm when it went back into the water.
If I had known at the start that it was to be a prolonged incident, I would have driven around there and got enough evidence for a conviction under the wildlife act. A NZ Sealion is big enough to protect itself, but the penguins are not. At 9:30 pm on Wednesday 2 car loads of tourists doused their camp fire (total fire ban for all of Otago) in the darkness and left the car park here.
In case I was thinking that that was it for the week, on Saturday morning 2 lads from Christchurch brought their dog down to the point so that they could go spear fishing (dog left in reserve unattended).
In the meantime, we have 6 penguins in care and 2 in the soft release pens. All are making good progress.
Have a great week!