News and views from the West Coast Penguin Trust, July 2014
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Hello to all our friends and supporters
There's lots in this issue - please take time to enjoy!

New Conservation Chapter

Fundraising campaign launched

We’d like to invite you to play a part in the Trust's next conservation chapter.
Until now  the West Coast Penguin Trust has received its core funding from the Department of Conservation, but this year the Trust missed out as the fund changed and was opened up to a wider range of community projects.

As they say, when one door closes, another door opens, so the Trust is now looking to its supporters to open the next door and offer a lifeline.

The story so far: we have established that parts of the coast road are major hazards for penguins and that loose dogs are also a major threat and we have been addressing both of these issues.  We will be finishing 2.5 km of penguin fence to keep birds off parts of SH6 in a few weeks' time and launching an education resource later this year as well as continuing the tracking study to better understand the foraging habits of our blue penguins.

The next chapter includes a project to research predator impacts on Fiordland crested penguins or tawaki in South Westland as well as supporting a marine ecology research project and survey work for these threatened birds.

Fundraising experts say that 95% of funds raised by charities like ours in New Zealand comes from small and regular donations.   A small donation, and, even better, a regular donation from many will make a significant difference for the Trust’s on-going work, and don't forget that donations of $5.00 or more may be eligible for tax credit.

If you'd like to make a regular donation, email and we'll get the new form to you.  To make a donation now, please follow this link and make a credit card or bank payment donation, whichever is easiest for you:

Thank you for your support.

Penguin fence progress

Fencing of the section of Coast Road with the highest penguin death toll is nearing completion

Trust Ranger, Reuben Lane, has been hard at work arranging and installing the Trust's most practical project yet to project blue penguins.
With generous support from fence materials suppliers Maccaferri, Farmlands and Resene, the fence has been taking shape over the past few weeks. Local fencer, John McLaren has been driving poles and volunteers have been attaching and digging in the plastic mesh fencing.
Interest has been on the increase and a Frequently Asked Questions section has been added to the project web page:
Reuben and brother Isaac installing the penguin fence Volunteers Graham and Matt digging in the fence mesh

The Akademic Shokalskiy and penguins on the edge of Antarctica

Antarctic Adventure plus Penguins

1st August, Greymouth

The Trust is delighted that Kerry-Jayne Wilson will again be sharing her Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic adventures by way of an illustrated talk, this time in Greymouth. 
All are welcome to the talk at the Tai Poutini Polytec theatre at 7pm, Friday 1st August.  We'll take the opportunity to share penguin updates as well as some nibbles.

May was for penguins

HealthPost is New Zealand’s favourite online supplier of natural health, skincare and household products, proudly based in Golden Bay.  Established in 1988, HealthPost is  committed to balancing profits and principles.  Each month, they select a charity and make a donation for every online purchase. 

Healthpost selected the West Coast Penguin Trust as May's charity and we were overwhelmed with the generous donation towards the penguin fence project of over $8500. 

A huge thank you to the team at HealthPost and thank you to Trust supporters who shopped with them.  The products are excellent and so are the prices!

Kori the Korora has a party

From CLM's Matt Quinn
Community Leisure Management (CLM) is a facility management company across New Zealand from Whangarei through to Nelson. We operate aquatic facilities through to gyms and our main business units are SwimMagic – our award winning swim school, CLM Health & Fitness – our gyms, and Chill Out – our child care programme which operate before and after school care as well as holiday programmes. We approached the West Coast Penguin Trust as the common aspect across our company is our mascot Kori, the Little Blue Penguin.
Kori is a regular feature in both SwimMagic and Chill Out and appears in all of our marketing material. He is often out and about in the community spreading water safety messages or pool side interacting with children enrolled in our programmes. We are very proud to be involved with the West Coast Penguin Trust and in the last week of Term two we had a party with a Kori theme week, which we used to raise money for the Trust. For four of our facilities, this week culminated with a Wave Rave (Aquatic pool party for children between the ages of 6 and 15), a percentage of these takings are also going to be donated.

We are very proud to say that so far we have raised $2893.57 and hope to have some more come in. We look forward to continue building the relationship between our two organizations further to help protect the future of the Little Blue Penguins in New Zealand. For any information on our offerings, please visit

And a very big thank you from the Trust!  We hope to meet Kori soon.  And to our supporters, we encourage you to pack your togs and check out the nearest CLM centre when you are nearby!
A Fiordland crested penguin (or Tawaki) on Open Bay Island near Haast

Fiordland crested penguins under the spotlight

Three projects are expected to get underway with the new Fiordland crested penguins (Tawaki) breeding season this August. 

A much needed project to identify predators should start near Jackson Bay, south of Haast, initiated and led by the West Coast Penguin Trust.  Without a clear understanding of the predators, which could include stoats, possums and/or dogs, any investment in a predator control programme could be wasted.  

The second is a joint project supported by Otago University, DOC and the Trust, which will see top penguin researchers, Thomas Mattern and Ursula Ellenberg, undertake a marine ecology research programme.

The generous sponsorship of Geoff Robson and his company, Impulse Fishing, has contributed to both of these essential projects.

The third project is a survey of Tawaki in a remote section of South Westland to compare data with findings from several years ago and to survey new areas.  Robin Long will kindly be undertaking this survey.

For each of the projects, trail cameras with a 'black flash' (invisible to penguins) will be placed near nest sites to allow movement to be recorded that will provide the primary or supplementary source of information.  Data will be downloaded frequently and analysed throughout the breeding season. 

We aim to keep you up to date as work starts and progresses.

Mortality Database - you can help ...

A new page on the Trust's website means that, if you're unfortunate enough to find a dead penguin, or other dead (and unusual) seabird, you can enter the details quickly and easily:

The Trust's practical projects relating to the two biggest threats to blue penguins on the coast have come about due to the bare facts presented in a penguin mortality database, compiled since 2006. 

Deaths on our roads and deaths from dog attacks featured so highly that time and energy were moved away from stoat trapping to dog owner and driver awareness campaigns and recently the penguin fence at Pahautane.

The database enables the Trust to focus in on hotspots for threats to penguins and to work with local communities to find appropriate solutions. 

If the bird is relatively fresh or intact, and if you are willing and able to collect the bird, additional useful information can be gleaned from the bird, including cause of death (if not obvious), stomach contents, parasites and DNA.  A researcher from Otago University is extracting DNA to study the relationships of blue penguins throughout their range.  (Please deliver to your nearest DOC office or pop in a couple of bags in the freezer and we can arrange to collect it.)

We hope you don't have to report dead birds, but if you do come across one, it will be great if we can widen our net to capture additional information our supporters can provide.  Thank you!

9th Oamaru Penguin Symposium

The West Coast Penguin Trust sent a delegation, including three Trustees, and their Ranger and Coordinator, down to Oamaru for the 9th biennial penguin symposium.  Other penguin conservation groups and scientists were present for this invaluable learning and networking event, including several from the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust.
Trust Chair, Kerry-Jayne Wilson, and DOC's West Coast Biodiversity Planner, Helen Otley, presented an important workshop to review and reassess research and management priorities for NZ penguins. 
Kerry-Jayne also presented a fascinating paper on the harsh reality of climate change for Adelie penguins in Antarctica as the result of the shift of a giant iceberg.  More on this story in the next newsletter or come along to Kerry-Jayne's talk in Greymouth, 7pm, 1st August at the polytec to find out more.

Trust Ranger, Reuben Lane, ensures the penguin fence is secure

Front page ranger

The interest in the penguin fence brought Messsenger reporter, Charles Bruning, up from Greymouth to find out more and, as a result, Reuben appeared on the front page of the Messenger recently.  You would have learned a bit more about our talented and highly skilled Ranger, including the fact that he spent three years in the Bolivian Amazon helping set up a medical project for the indigenous people.

A big thank you to our very generous donors.

We have taken a leaf out of the Kea Conservation Trust's newsletter to acknowledge and thank our wonderful donors through the newsletter.
Recently, we have received donations from:
  • Healthpost
  • Mont d'Or Mining
  • Andrew Peacock
  • Nicky Armstrong
  • Phyllis & Michael Wells
  • Nicole de Losa
  • Hana & Glenn Newman
  • Hokitika Junk 2 Funk
A number of people have generously contributed to the penguin fence project through 'buy a metre of fence for $15', a raffle and donations following Kerry-Jayne's entertaining talk in Hokitika last month. 

Supporters and donations are the lifeblood of the Trust, and, if you can help, please donate via direct payment (details here) or credit card payment here.  Thank you so much for your support, whether subscribing to our email list and sharing with others or contributing dollars as well.
Copyright © 2014 West Coast Penguin Trust, All rights reserved.

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