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Penguin Cam streaming live from blue penguin burrow

Media release – 19 October 2017

Penguin Cam streaming live from blue penguin burrow

The public can now get a unique 24 / 7 view of the world’s smallest penguin with the launch of a live streaming webcam from a penguin burrow on the New Plymouth coast.

To the best of our knowledge this is the only live webcam in New Zealand streaming from a blue penguin burrow. It can be viewed on the website of environmental project Taranaki Mounga, whose project area includes the protected Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands.

Department of Conservation senior biodiversity ranger and Taranaki Mounga team member Emily King says Penguin Cam is located in a burrow where a kororā/blue penguin egg is currently being incubated.

“Incubation takes around 40 days, with both parents doing their share, so we would expect this chick to hatch before the end of November. It is an amazing opportunity to watch a new born penguin’s start at life and I’m sure the webcam will be popular viewing,” she says.

The Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society, Chaddy’s Charters, PrimoWireless, George Mason Charitable Trust and True Sense of Security Ltd have all contributed to getting the live webcam up and running. Chaddy (Dave Chadfield) has been an enthusiastic penguin guardian for nearly 30 years and along with the Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society installed a camera in a penguin burrow a few years ago to learn more about blue penguins’ survival.

“By using a tiny infrared camera we can get a unique look at penguins in the wild. The birds have no idea they are being watched and now we are live streaming we get to see their normal behaviour in the low light of the burrow,” says Elise Smith from the Ngā Motu Marine Reserve Society.

Local Telco PrimoWireless has generously provided the wireless internet connection to allow the live streaming. Kelly Ellis from PrimoWireless says it’s a way for the company to give back to the community.

“Penguin Cam is a great way of using technology for environmental education. A lot of Taranaki locals probably don’t even realise we have penguins on our back doorstep and now the public can follow their progress from home or the office,” she says.

Penguin Cam is likely to be fairly busy for a lot of the year. Blue penguins usually come ashore to lay eggs from June to November. After the chicks hatch, the parents take it in turns to guard them and go fishing for the first few weeks, returning each night to their burrow to feed the chicks. Fledging (leaving the nest) usually happens when chicks are about four to eight weeks old. Adults come ashore in summer to shed their feathers and grow a new waterproof coat. This moult period lasts about two weeks and can happen any time between November and March. The penguins are especially vulnerable at this time as they cannot swim.

To view PenguinCam : www.taranakimounga.nz/get-involved/penguin-cam/


ends

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