Hello friends and family
Happy New Year! I am looking forward to 2016, confident that it will be better for the penguins than 2015. El Nino is kinder for the wildlife on this coast than La Nina and in that I have hope.
The biggest setback this year was the death of 10 of our breeding females here at Katiki and 4 at Okahau point. Many of our mothers have been in rehabilitation and it is easy to imagine that the species lacks resilience, but when we add human disturbance on top of habitat damage it has consequences that are disastrous for penguins.
During the winter we made the hard call that, as no controls were likely to be placed upon the tourists here, we would have to restrict the range of the penguins and so built an internal fence to keep the penguins away from the people. There is little else that we can do here so we need to move our focus to Okahau Point in the hope of giving the penguins a better chance of survival in the future. Everywhere else that people have been given uncontrolled access to Yellow-eyed penguin colonies, the penguins are dying out even faster than here.
I have harvested the Broad beans and the cherries are beginning to ripen. The glorious sunny days are a delight, but I have only just put the pumpkins in the ground, waiting for the warm weather.
Elaine and I have started our beach searches. We cannot help sick and injured penguins if we don’t find them in time. Many of the sea birds have babies and the gulls in particular are not keen to see us. The noise is amazing!
Chris came up for Xmas and we enjoyed some wild pork given to me by my nephew Peter. It was delicious! Gary, the ex-lighthouse maintenance man called in with some photos. He now works in China and commutes from Dunedin.
The seal breeding area is crawling with fur seal pups. Everywhere I looked there was another one. They are playing in the rock pools when it gets hot, very cute and noisy too!
Have a great week!