Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


New Zealand penguins in crisis

New Zealand penguins in crisis

Fiordland Crested Penguin, credit Craig McKenzie

Half the world’s threatened penguin species live in New Zealand and yet there is no coordinated government plan to protect them.

Forest & Bird is joining a global campaign to help save penguins and is calling for a national recovery plan to protect New Zealand’s struggling penguin species.

The world’s penguins are in crisis with 10 of out of 18 species at risk of being wiped out. Five of these threatened species live and breed on New Zealand’s mainland and sub-Antarctic islands.

"We are urging the New Zealand government to establish a national Penguin Recovery Group, administered by the Department of Conservation. This group, similar to the very successful Kiwi Recovery Group, would facilitate a more coordinated and collaborative approach to the conservation of all our penguins," says Forest & Bird's CE Kevin Hague.

“Our penguins are in crisis and need help now. New Zealand is home to half the world’s at-risk penguin species and yet the majority don't have a recovery plan in place."

“New Zealand is home to the world’s second rarest penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho. Only 1,700 breeding pairs are thought to remain on earth and they are in trouble, with significant declines in the last two to three years. They are being killed in trawl and set nets, and by disease and introduced predators."

"Our Fiordland crested penguin/tawaki, a shy forest-dwelling penguin has an estimated 3,000 breeding pairs remaining. Last summer stoats wiped out an entire colony of 150 breeding pairs at Jackson Head, on the West Coast. They are also threatened by human impacts, including fishing nets, tourism and climate change."

The erect-crested penguin, another endangered New Zealand native, recently disappeared as a breeding species from the sub-Antarctic Campbell Island. It now only breeds on two other island groups and is the least studied penguin in New Zealand.

The Campbell Island population of the eastern rockhopper, once the largest in New Zealand, crashed by 94% over a 45-year period to 1985 and has never recovered.

Together with the other 120 BirdLife partner organisations, with 10 million members worldwide, Forest & Bird is calling on governments to take action and commit to a strategy to help the world’s penguins recover and thrive.

Along with other community groups, Forest & Bird help protect penguin colonies around New Zealand, including in the Hauraki Gulf, Wellington, Timaru, South Otago, and Southland. Local spokespeople are available to talk to media.

Background information

BirdLife’s global penguin campaign launches on Monday 10 April, see

New Zealand is home to a third of the world’s penguin species - we are the penguin capital of the globe.

New Zealand’s six penguin species are: yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho (endemic), Fiordland crested penguin/tawaki (endemic) and the little penguin/kororā, which can all be seen on the mainland. Three other species are endemic to New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands: the eastern rockhopper penguin, the erect-crested penguin and the Snares crested penguin.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Superu Report: Land Regulation Drives Auckland House Prices

Land use regulation is responsible for up to 56 per cent of the cost of an average house in Auckland according to a new research report quantifying the impact of land use regulations, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>


Fletcher Whittled: Fletcher Dumps Adamson In Face Of Dissatisfaction

Fletcher Building has taken the unusual step of dumping its chief executive, Mark Adamson, as the company slashed its full-year earnings guidance and flagged an impairment against Australian assets. More>>


No More Dog Docking: New Animal Welfare Regulations Progressed

“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching.” More>>


Employment: Most Kiwifruit Contractors Breaking Law

A Labour Inspectorate operation targeting the kiwifruit industry in Bay of Plenty has found the majority of labour hire contractors are breaching their obligations as employers. More>>


'Work Experience': Welfare Group Opposes The Warehouse Workfare

“This programme is about exploiting unemployed youth, not teaching them skills. The government are subsidising the Warehouse in the name of reducing benefit dependency,” says Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for Auckland Action Against Poverty. More>>


Internet Taxes: Labour To Target $600M In Unpaid Taxes From Multinationals

The Labour Party would target multinationals operating in New Zealand to ensure they don't avoid paying tax if it wins power and is targeting $600 million over three years through a "diverted profits tax," says leader Andrew Little. More>>