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See if you can spot the penguin in the motion sensing footage above - hint look for a glowing eye in the top left.
Lyttelton Harbour is home to a colony of the white-flippered variant of kororā (little penguins –Eudyptula minor), which are the smallest species of penguin in the world.
While the little Kororā (often also called little blue penguins) is the most common penguin on New Zealand’s coast-line, the white-flippered variant is thought to be largely confined to Banks Peninsula and North Canterbury, which makes it a bird of special local significance.
Kororā (often also called little blue penguins) feed out at sea during the day. They love to roost and make their make their nests in the nooks and crannies of the port’s rock armouring.
The population of little penguins in New Zealand is declining, so it’s really important to look after the ones we have in the harbour and ensure that our construction projects do not disturb or harm them while they are nesting.
Annabelle Coates (Ecologist, Babbage Consultants) has just helped us inspect habitat at the proposed Cruise Berth site. She found a few likely nesting spots, so special motion sensing cameras were set up to record any night time penguin visits. One camera snapped a single penguin hopping around the rocks, possibly scoping the area for a nesting site.
We didn’t find any evidence that nesting has started, and the penguin wasn’t seen in subsequent night’s recordings. So, to ensure penguins don’t nest in the area during construction, we have filled in the remaining nooks and crannies in the rock armouring.
Once the cruise berth is complete, the area will have new rock armouring with plenty of good nesting burrows for our flippered friends!
Keep an eye out for more in-depth penguin stories in future issues of LPC's Port Update newsletter.
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