KORI’s Penguin Education and Awareness Programme (P.E.A.P.) gives visitor and school groups a ‘peap’ into the lives of one of Kaikōura’s lesser known residents, the little blue penguin.
Standing at only 40 centimetres tall and weighing approximately one kilo, the little blue penguin (also known as the blue penguin or fairy penguin) is the world’s smallest penguin species, and is found only on the coastlines of New Zealand and southern Australia. Read more about the little blue penguin in our fact file.
Our colony here in Kaikoura is small and therefore all the more precious. In the 2017-2018 breeding season we only had 11 breeding pairs. These pairs produced 34 eggs, only 19 of which survived to fledging.
In 2012, when KORI joined Lindsay Rowe in monitoring the population, a total of 71 individuals were recorded at least once in the colony between January and December.
K.O.R.I. conducts weekly checks of the colony, weighing and measuring eggs and chicks to ensure they are healthy, and banding penguins when they mature, or as new adult arrivals appear in Kaikōura.
This allows us to document changes in the colony, and the health of chicks as they fledge.
What happens on a P.E.A.P?
The P.E.A.P. is your chance to learn a little more about little blues, as well as observing them going about their natural behaviour.
A typical P.E.A.P begins with a presentation on penguins by a member of the K.O.R.I. team. The group is then taken into our purpose-built viewing area beneath the Coastguard building to view wild penguins from behind a pane of glass. The use of red-lighting only means minimal disruption to the penguins.
No two P.E.A.Ps are the same as penguin behaviour is highly seasonal. Depending on the time of your visit you may see penguins coming in for the night, penguins that are moulting, or penguin nesting boxes with eggs or chicks.
The installation of our infrared ‘nest-box cam’ allows you to peep into one nest-box without any disturbance to the occupants!
If you would like to visit the colony please contact us to find out when the next available program is running, or discover other ways in which you can help Kaikōura’s little blues.
K.O.R.I would like to thank the Lottery Hurunui Kaikoura Marlborough Earthquake Relief Fund for funding to replace equipment that was broken in the earthquake, including our Nest Box Cam and screen, and providing free P.E.A.Ps for school children.
We would also like to thank the following supporters of the P.E.A.P!