This week we welcome back our penguin detector dog, Rua; his handler, Joanna Sim, and kororā expert of 30 years, Professor John Cockrem to assist with our annual penguin survey around the port and inner harbour. Also, visiting the port for the first time is ten-month old Miro – Joanna’s new detector dog in training.
Working with our environmental advisors, Paul Rose and Te Kaha Hawaikirangi, the team will be extending the survey under a number of our wharves for the first time. This presents quite a logistical challenge with two dogs in tow.
During the week John Cockrem will also be using his expertise to attach our first GPS trackers to five penguins currently in the sanctuary. These trackers are approved by the Department of Conservation and will assist John, and others, with ongoing research on the species. Very little is known about the regular movements of Kororā out in the ocean, so we are excited to learn more about our local population and their habits.
The trackers are left on each penguin for a four week period to track where they go when they leave the sanctuary. The trackers are removed to download the GPS information, which we also plan to share on our website once available.
Also, it is currently breeding season for the kororā and we are thrilled to have eggs laid in six of our sanctuary nesting boxes to date. The first set of these eggs are due to hatch in early October, with the newest eggs arriving only this week. Be sure to visit our ‘Keeping up with the Kororā’ live cameras to get a closer look inside a couple of our nesting boxes.