Hello friends and family
What a difference a week makes! By Wednesday we had 16 chicks and 7 of them had Diphtheria. On one hand we are so thrilled to have these precious babies and on the other we fear for their lives.
On Tuesday, our team was up to 8 members, so we were able to split and send 4 to monitor the Moeraki colony and 4 of us went to Katiki Beach to make the nest there possible to save the chicks. We had a plan – a good plan. With everyone in agreement we set out, fixed up the nest site, set the penguin to return to her eggs and she didn’t! Fortunately, we chose to go away and within 5 minutes she was back on her eggs, and all was right with the world.
Once we have Diphtheria in the population, we check the nests every day as new cases can be saved if caught quickly. On Wednesday I was able to pass the Toptip on to Kate (bless her) and focus on penguin welfare. Not only did we see dolphins swimming past, but we also found a whistling frog. Robbie took the volunteers off to his place in the afternoon so I could recoup for Thursday.
On Friday, we found our first dead chick. It had died within 24 hours of hatching and sadly, that does happen. It could be any of a lot of reasons associated with hatching, but we cannot do much about these deaths. We have had very warm days and the chicks are struggling to hatch as the membranes in the egg dry out and become leathery. We had 32 chicks, 26 of which need treatment for Diphtheria. We had 46 eggs left to hatch.
Yesterday we were up to 43 chicks and no more deaths. My idea of paradise. Beautiful sunny day with a breeze to take the heat out, healthy chicks and spare penguins who were just chilling or having political meetings on the landing. Long may it last!
Have a great week!