Hello friends and family
This has been a busy week. On Monday, I had a meeting with the Waitaki Tourism people that was held at mid-day in Palmerston. I explained to them that the penguins have all but gone from the historic reserve and the relentless visitor pressure is adversely affecting the wildlife. The opportunity for a self-sustaining tourist venture here, with its associated employment opportunities, is fast disappearing. Members of the local community board came out at 6:45pm and could see for themselves, tourists ignoring all signs, harassing penguins and seals, and the rampant weeds that are rapidly taking over the place.
On Tuesday Joanne and her other guide came to offer help. Joanne brings tourists here in the daytime. Wednesday was the day that the local primary school visited to find out what was happening here.
I visited Janice on Thursday and she is keeping in good spirits despite her challenges. Thursday was also my day for checking all the penguin chicks and they were all OK. The hardest part of these difficult times is getting out of bed in the morning. Once I am up, routines and protocols take over. I must deliver the antibiotics in a timely fashion and carefully check each chick in a thorough way. Of our 85 hatched chicks, 52 survive.
Hiltrun came up for the weekend and continued the battle with the weeds. Penguins have very short legs so weeds and lank grass makes an impenetrable barrier for them
The predator of concern at present is the rats. We see them on the trail cameras checking the nests at night for spilled fish. It is a challenge to trap them.
Have a great week!