What is a P.E.A.P.?

P.E.A.P.s are a big part of what we do at KORI, but what are they exactly, and what happens on an average P.E.A.P.?

Well, P.E.A.P. is short for Penguin Education and Awareness Programme, and the name is a real give away for what this initiative aims to achieve.

2 more chicks in nest box watermarked
Depending when people visit, they may see penguins moulting, incubating eggs, or raising chicks.

While most people have heard about the sperm whales and dolphin populations that call Kaikōura home, far fewer know about the little blue penguins who live beneath the South Bay coastguard building.

The future of this colony is far from secure (only 11 breeding pairs were recorded in the 2017-18 breeding season) but these birds are fighters.

At KORI we want to see this colony flourish, and the numbers increase. We believe that educating people about Kaikōura’s little blues, and the threats that face them, is an important part step towards this goal.

little blue chick watermarked.jpg
Both parents are involved in raising chicks, taking turns to guard it while the other hunts for food on the open ocean.

The average P.E.A.P. looks a bit like this:

  • Arrival: Visitors arrive late in the evening as the penguins only leave the ocean around sunset, following a day’s fishing.
  • Presentation: Before going to see the penguins, a KORI volunteer gives a short presentation, this includes:
    • An introduction to New Zealand’s penguin species.
    • The life cycle of little blue penguins.
    • The Kaikōura colony, and the threats facing it.
    • An opportunity for visitors to ask questions.
  • Viewing the penguins: After the presentation, the group is taken beneath the Coastguard building to KORI’s purpose-built viewing area. Here the visitors watch the penguins return to their purpose-built-nest-boxes from behind a screen. This allows for great views of the birds, with absolutely minimal disturbance to their natural behaviour.

The use of our infra-red nest-box cam even allows views into the boxes to watch the frenzy that occurs when adults bring home food to the chicks – if you thought your kids got stroppy when they haven’t eaten for a while, prepare to think again!

Depending what time of year visitors come, they might see penguins moulting, coming in for the night, incubating eggs or raising chicks – the experience is never the same twice!

We run P.E.A.P.s for locals, tourists and even during the day for local school groups.

No matter who we’re talking to, we hope they leave with a new appreciation for these amazing birds, and an understanding of the small steps they can take in their daily lives to help protect them for years to come!

For more information on our P.E.A.P.s, volunteering, or to find out when the next one is happening, get in touch with us!

 

 

Intern profile: Bryce Talsma

27th July 2018 

We hope you have been following her across our Facebook and Instagram channels, but here’s a bit more on KORI’s current intern – who comes all the way from the USA.

Bryce Talsma (aged 23) grew up in a small town in west Michigan, and from a young age wanted to get be a vet, but also held an affinity with the ocean and marine life.

Shore-based studies help us track the movement of marine wildlife across the bay.
Bryce has piloted a shore-based study of our Kaikōura’s marine mammals.

‘I remember when I was a little girl, I kept a jar of money that I would continually add to so I could swim with dolphins. It was my dream. I had dolphin everything…stuffed animals, towels, paintings, puzzles, earrings, rings, and blankets.’

When it came time to choose a university programme she was torn between marine biology and veterinary medicine and, in the end, decided on the latter.

However, when the opportunity arose for her to join the Creation Care Study Programme (CCSP) in Kaikōura, she jumped at it.

During her time at CCSP she was taught by KORI’s own Jody Weir, and began volunteering with our team monitoring the South Bay penguin colony. Whilst she returned to the US for her studies, Kaikōura was never far from her mind.

‘Kaikōura is one of those places you can’t help but fall in love with… I’ve been planning my return since the day I left.’

Fast-forward a little, and Bryce is back!

Our volunteers and interns often help out with boat-based sur
Our boat-based surveys help us keep track of marine wildlife in the Kaikōura area.

Bryce has been interning at KORI since June 1stand has proved herself a hugely valuable member of the team.

We have kept her busy. As well as assisting with our marine mammal surveys and the Kaikōura penguin colony, Bryce has a number of projects of her own.

We hope you have seen her out on the peninsula where she has been developing methods to monitor the humpback migration, along with our other marine mammals, as they move through the area from a shore-based lookout station.

As well as noting group sizes, behaviours, and the timings of sightings, she is hoping that this is a project the community can get involved with.

‘There is a wealth of knowledge in this town, and this is a wonderful opportunity to share with one another.’

Her other focus has been on the same penguin colony that began her involvement with KORI in 2015.

‘The Secret Life of Penguins’, has been running across our Facebook and Instagram profiles for the last few weeks, and shows feeds from hidden cameras setup in the South Bay penguin colony. This has been particularly exciting as it has given us the first-ever footage of Kaikōura penguin mating behaviour.

As well as analysing the footage Bryce is researching the benefits of our purpose-built-nest-boxes for reducing penguin predation and determining if there are ways we could improve them.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Bryce will be heading home on July 31stbut it seems like she will be leaving with some great memories…

Kaikoura has become a home to me and the people I have met and the wildlife I have spent my days studying have so greatly impacted me. I think I’m living my 5 year-old self’s dream.’

Here’s to Bryce.

Having volunteers and interns help out with our work is vital to KORI's success.