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Lions want to see Little Blue Penguins back on our coast!

February 13, 2024 February 2024 No Comments

Penguin boxers lunching at Ngawi.

Over the past few years Martinborough Lions have put many volunteer hours into supporting the Aorangi Restoration Trust’s efforts to enable the Korora /Little Blue Penguin to return in numbers to the Kawakawa/Palliser Bay coast. 

Last week a team of Lions placed 50 penguin boxes into ideal habitats on the coast, building on the 100 or so nesting boxes already placed there. The Lions even assembled the boxes with a working bee. Phillip Reid, Max Stevens, Max’s grandson Archie and Joe Howells said that they all had a “great day on the coast doing something extremely worthwhile.”

Penguin nesting boxes provide a sheltered little burrow-like place for the Korora/Little Blue Penguin to nest in. Because of human activity such as clearing land for farming or subdivisions, the amount of suitable nesting habitat has decreased over time. Also, people can get annoyed with Korora Penguins nesting under their houses or batches. Importantly it’s easier for the Korora Penguin to protect their eggs or chicks through the narrow entrance of the nesting box, as opposed to an open nesting site in the scrub.

The Lions’ work has included maintaining predator traplines, reducing the predator load on the coast. The target species are Weasels, Stoats, Ferrets, Feral Cats, Rats, Hedgehogs, Opossums and Rats. These were all introduced into our landscape by our well-meaning ancestors. They have created an ecological disaster in our forests and coastal environment, with many species that were common when some of us were young, including the Korora/Little Blue Penguin, now either extinct locally or severely threatened.

“We know this can be done, once the predators were eliminated on Matiu Soames Island, the Korora returned,” said Aorangi Restoration Trust chair Clive Paton  Korora is the world’s smallest penguin and it is extremely vulnerable to predation while nesting. 

“We have seen the Korora disappear from our local coasts on our watch, let’s see if we can turn the tide and get them back on our watch,” he added.

The Aorangi Restoration Trust, mainly with the help of volunteers, now supports predator traplines right around the perimeter of the Aorangi Forest Park, on the South Wairarapa coastlines and across the Tonganui Corridor which includes the wetlands between the Aorangi and Remutaka Forest Parks. 

This work may help save the Matuku-hūrepo or Australasian Bittern and the Pekapeka or Native Bat from extinction. It’s a massive job and the Trust and Martinborough Lions welcome any new volunteers to help with this critical environmental work.

Contact Joe Howells on 027 597 2667 or joe@greenjersey.co.nz to support this work.

Contact Belinda Jorgensen on 027 282 5096 or belindaleej@gmail.com  to learn more about the great fun you can have by joining Martinborough Lions.

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