Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 9 January 2009 Contents 9 January, 2009 | Page 9
The Fiordland crested penguin is among seven species
of penguins proposed for protection under the USA’s
Endangered Species Act.
If passed, the African penguin, yellow-eyed penguin,
white-flippered penguin, Fiordland crested penguin,
Humboldt penguin and erect-crested penguin
will join the likes of polar bears on the list of
species endangered by climate change and other
A statement released by America’s Center for
Biological Diversity says listing under the Endangered
Species Act will provide broad protection to the
penguins, including a requirement that US federal
agencies ensure that any action carried out,
authorised or funded by the US government will not
“jeopardise the continued existence” of the species.
For example, if the penguins are listed, future approval
of fishing permits for US-flagged boats operating on
the high seas would require analysis and minimisation
of impacts on the listed penguins. The Act also has
an important role to play in reducing greenhouse gas
pollution by compelling federal agencies to look at the
impact of the emissions generated by their activities
on listed species and to adopt solutions to reduce
them, the statement says.
However, the Bush administration has come under
fire for not going far enough in its proposal to protect
penguins. The emperor penguin, featured in the film
March of the Penguins, which was screened on New
Zealand television this week, has been denied such
protection after the US Department of the Interior
concluded that global warming impacts were “too
uncertain to warrant protecting the species”.
Shaye Wolf, a seabird biologist with the Center for
Biological Diversity said protection of the penguins
was an important step forward.
“However, for the emperor penguin, it is a step closer
The emperor penguin colony at Pointe Geologie,
featured in the film March of the Penguins has
reportedly declined by more than 50 percent in recent
years as a result of global warming.
The US Department of Interior has one year to finalise
the listing decision for the seven penguins proposed
for protection. The decision to exclude the emperor,
rockhopper and macaroni penguins from the list can
be challenged in court.
Meanwhile, The New Zealand Department of
Conservation said an annual census of Fiordland
crested (Tawaki) penguins was carried out in
November by Hannah Edmonds of DOC’s Te Anau
Trends suggest that populations in Fiordland are
remaining stable at locations where predator control
is carried out, such as on islands, but are in decline at
The other species of penguin that can be found in
Fiordland is little blue penguin. Yellow-eyed penguins
(Hoiho) are not typically found in Fiordland.
Photo: Hannah Edmonds, Department of Conservation
A Fiordland crested penguin photographed at
Martins Bay last year.
Fiordland penguin may
go on endangered list
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is
concerned at the number of people taking
dogs into conservation areas, particularly
It is illegal under the Conservation Act and
National Parks Act for any dog to be in a
national park or on public conservation land
without proper authorisation. In November
two people were successfully prosecuted in
the Invercargill District Court after allowing
their dogs to be in the Fiordland National
Since 2000, DOC Southland has investigated
16 incidents involving dogs being on
conservation land – nine of those in the past
DOC ranger Leanne Keenan urged people to
make themselves aware of the rules before
“While there are some areas where you
cannot take dogs, there are places in
Southland where you can,” she said.
Two noticeable areas where people were
breaking the rules were when they took dogs
into Milford by car – all of the visitor sites
past Te Anau Downs are within the Fiordland
National Park – or on boats on lakes Te Anau
“Many of our native birds are flightless and
have few of no defences against predation.
Even the most obedient, domesticated
animal can reveal their predator instincts in
the wild,” Ms Keenan said.
DOC Te Anau duty manager Ross Kerr said
staff were keen to educate boaties to take
heed of the notices at boat ramps reminding
them not to take dogs into the park. There
were areas where dogs were allowed –
provided they were under a degree of
control – such as Mavora Lakes, and people
should take time to familiarise themselves
with their options, he said.
Te Anau Boat Club harbour warden Fred
Inder has been assisting DOC in reminding
boaties of their obligations. He said most
people were compliant but a disappointing
few flouted the rules.
“I was talking to one of (DOC’s) staff and
people he’d spoken to have got real anti.
Well that’s a shame because the only
reason they have the rules there is to protect
the wildlife on the other side.”
DID YOU KNOW?
It is illegal under the
Conservation Act and
National Parks Act for any
dog to be in a national park
or on public conservation
land without proper
The maximum penalty for
people taking dogs illegally
into conservation areas is a
fine of up to $10,000 or jail
of up to 12 months.
Sometimes dogs are
just not welcome
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