Our time at Penguin Place
January 22, 2014

Over the last week, we have been continuing our work at field sites around the Otago Peninsula conducting health assessments on yellow-eyed penguin chicks as well as having the opportunity to PIT tag any chicks that fit the criteria. This is vital to monitor the penguins breeding success and it requires a lot of work to visit every known nest site! As well as continuing our work with the yellow-eyed penguins, we have also been lucky enough to count little blue penguins in their nest boxes at Penguin Place, assist Jules and Matt from Penguin Place with daily duties as well as assist with tagging five NZ sea lion pups – more information can be found here: http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/331841/five-sea-…

As our time with DOC Ranger Mel and Pengin Place comes to an end, one of the things that has really stood out to me is Mel’s engagement with the community. As an employee representing DOC out in the field, DOC couldn’t ask for any better! Unlike the Catlins, many of the field sites we have visited this week have been close to the public eye and Mel has always gone out of her way to communicate knowledge. information and passion to the community, locals and visitors alike. I also saw this passion at Penguin Place and the Royal Albatross Centre where the employees are similarly as passionate about the wildlife they work with and go the extra mile to make sure visitors are not only informed but also have a great time viewing wildlife.

It has been really inspiring to see the work and passion that people put into yellow-eyed penguins here at the Otago Peninsula and since then, I have been enjoying sharing my new knowledge as well as guiding people towards viewing yellow-eyed penguins safely without disturbing their nesting behaviour (Penguin Place is perfect for that) to visitors and tourists out in the field and at the accommodation that we have been staying at. It’s a great reminder of how effective communication is in helping people find a passion about wildlife and conservation and has been one of the most rewarding parts of my trip so far.

For now we are resting up at a backpackers in Invercargill, sharing my experiences with other guests at the backpackers and getting ready for our next trip… Codfish Island!

Dannie Cullen

Dannie Cullen

BLAKE DOC Ambassador 2014