Hello friends and family
This has been a difficult week. The diphtheria has spread to many nests and some chicks have died in spite of me treating them. These chicks have had empty stomachs so starvation has been part of the problem, for whatever reason.
Some chicks are thriving, but 6 chicks have disappeared, making us think that they have been predated so it has got back to the point where it is difficult to look into a nestbox because we don’t know what we will find. Hiltrun and I are still doing full monitoring rounds every second day. It is much easier with 2 of us as the decisions that we make are life and death decisions for the penguin chicks.
I put a trail camera on a nest that had lost one chick and got photos of a rat entering the nestbox. This could be the predator but I will keep checking in case other predators appear. All the traps are set.
On Monday DOC issued a press release about the decline in penguin numbers over the last few years. As it was caught between the Paris bombs and Jonah Lomu’s death, it hardly got a mention. Kristina from Christchurch got in touch and told me that the Bank’s Peninsula Yellow-eyed penguin nest numbers had halved from 6 to 3 so it appears the decline is right across their whole NZ range.
On Friday, Hiltrun and I had a clear round. This means no chicks dead, no chicks missing and no new sick chicks. This was a first for 2 weeks. Let’s hope the worst is over.
Today we will check all the nests again, fingers crossed for another clear round!
Have a great week