The yellow-eyed penguin is the New Zealand species most effected by habitat loss. A forest or shrubland nesting species, the yellow-eyed has come under under pressure on mainland New Zealand as forest and shrubland has been cleared and replaced with pasture.
In the late 1980's, the yellow-eyed penguin population on mainland NZ was at an all-time low and conservation groups started an intensive effort to protect and revegetate yellow-eyed penguin habitat. Since then, many hectares of existing and potential yellow-eyed penguin habitat has been protected and tens of thousands of plants have been planted - mainly by volunteers.
It has been gratifying for the volunteers, conservation organisations and sponsors alike to see the gradual re-establishment of shrub cover on the coast and the subsequent re-occupation of these areas by Yellow-eyed penguins. However, the task is not yet complete. Areas of habitat in need of protection still remain, and the process of revegetation will continue for many years.
Check the conservation page for details about conservation organisations in New Zealand and their work.
Artificial nest sites, in the form of boxes, have proved useful as temporary housing for yellow-eyed penguins (forest nesters) and longer-term housing for blue penguins (burrow nesters). Details on blue penguin nestboxes can be found here >>>
The modern desire for us to live in a house on the coast is placing pressure on blue penguin populations. While the housing developments themselves have a direct impact on penguin habitat, the increased density of cats and dogs and vehicles is likely to have a greater impact.
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