NZ warned penguins in peril
New Zealand conservation group Forest & Bird has released a dire warning for the government, saying that the country’s penguins are “in crisis”.
It’s not just our penguins that are in trouble, either. As many as 10 of the 18 penguin species around the planet are currently at risk of extinction. Sadly, five of those species live in New Zealand.
Forest & Bird have already joined an international campaign to help these at-threat penguins, and has called on the New Zealand government to create a plan to protect them.
“We are urging the New Zealand government to establish a national Penguin Recovery Group,” explained Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague.
The group would function in the same way as the Kiwi Recovery Group, which has been very successful. Essentially, the group’s main focus would be to facilitate and coordinate a collaborative effort for penguin conservation.
Currently, there are just 1,700 breeding pairs of the yellow-eyed penguin, which is the second-rarest species in the world. They have already seen significant drops in population figures over the past few years, largely due to disease, introduced predators, and trawl and set nets.
As for the Fiordland crested penguin, there are an estimated 3,000 breeding pairs remaining. In the past year alone, an entire colony of 150 pairs were wiped out at Jackson Head on the West Coast by stoats.
New Zealand has recently set a goal to eradicate pests completely by the year 2050, which should help improve the numbers of penguins around the country, as well as a large variety of other species that you would see on NZ nature tours.
However, Forest & Bird is looking for a more direct approach to penguin conservation. The group has joined 120 other BirdLife partner organisations with 10 million members around the world, and hopes that the government will also commit to a strategy that will benefit our penguins’ survival.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist