Royal Albatross Centre and Blue Penguins Pukekura reopen
3 August 2017
Royal Albatross Centre and Blue Penguins Pukekura reopen today
Iconic Dunedin visitor attractions the Royal Albatross Centre and Blue Penguins Pukekura reopened today after 12 days closed by slips caused by the Dunedin deluge last month.
Otago Peninsula Trust’s Manager of Operations Taiaroa Head, Hoani Langsbury says “We’re very happy to have visitor access to our attractions restored. We’ve been fielding calls from visitors wanting the chance to see this year’s albatross chicks before they fledge in the next month or two. Our viewing is fantastic at the moment, with the huge chicks exercising their wings energetically. We’d like to thank the Dunedin City Council team who’ve been incredibly dedicated to assuring the roads were cleared and we really appreciate their communications, support and efforts to getting our visitation back on track”.
Hoani adds “We’re especially pleased to get road access back to Taiaroa Head as we’re hosting year 9 and 10 students this Friday to assist with the Blue Penguins Pukekura RFID tracking and habitat restoration programme at Pilots Beach. It’s perfect timing after the large slip destroyed a number of the penguin’s homes and disrupted the nesting area. They’ll be helping penguins by building penguin nesting boxes, replanting flora plus using the RFID tracking to investigate the effects of the slip on the penguin population. Today our penguin scientist Dr Hiltrun Ratz has discovered two blue penguin eggs which bodes well for the breeding season.”
CEO of Otago Peninsula Trust, Robyn McDonald says “We estimate that having Glenfalloch, the Albatross Centre and blue penguin tours affected by the road closures and slips will cost the Trust around $50,000 for Taiaroa Head plus possibly another $50,000 for damage and loss of business at Glenfalloch for insurance excess, loss of income and remedial work. It’s a real blow to our 50th anniversary celebratory year, however we are very grateful for all the support received from the DCC, our team and local businesses to help us reopen.”
Trust staff and DOC Rangers had been accessing the headland via water taxi to check and supplementary feed albatross chicks, plus assess damage and animal welfare. Just two blue penguins were found dead in their nesting box. Trust staff were able to access the albatross centre from late Friday and have been cleaning and restoring operations prior to reopening today.
Visitors are advised to pay attention to road conditions and to drive carefully as there is traffic management in places.
Remedial work on the headland’s access road is expected to continue over the next few months.