A bunch of plucky little blue penguins will play a key role in ongoing work to secure the future of their species.
Recently, more than 30 kororā nesting in the Port Taranaki area were fitted with microchips as part of a monitoring programme led by the New Zealand Penguin Initiative, and supported locally by members of the Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society and Ngāti Te Whiti hapū.
The New Zealand Penguin Initiative aims to improve the conservation status of New Zealand penguin species through research initiatives, community involvement and advocacy.
Microchipping some of the penguins will enable the New Zealand Penguin Initiative and their research and conservation coordinator Richard Seed to track the birds’ behaviour patterns and assess the population trends to help with ongoing conservation efforts. The work will also help to learn more about the little blue penguins’ food sources and the threats they face in the area.
The work builds on local kororā surveys and monitoring work during the past decade, and includes nest checking every fortnight by members of the Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society who have been specifically trained and given Department of Conservation permits to handle the penguins.