Day 223 on the Road
Little Blue Penguins in Akaroa
Today we are joining the team from Pohatu Penguins once again, this time to release penguins into the wild! If you like this video and want to see more epic 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then head on over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
Today we are doing something absolutely exceptional we are going to release some rehabilitated blue penguins into the wild.
If you recall a few days ago we did a tour with Pohatu Penguins but we were all flustered because we just lost our campervan so they invited us to join them again and today it’s a treat because on top of their nature tour we’re gonna be releasing some little blue penguins into the wild.
On our way to Akaroa Heads Ben our guide is taking the time to stop multiple times along the way so we get awesome picture opportunities of the beautiful Banks peninsula. It would be a shame to just drive past it without stopping it’s so gorgeous.
Ben is also taking the time to tell us a lot about the history of the area both the geological history the Banks Peninsula used to be a massive volcano and the human history which is one of the earliest places when European settlers made contact with the Maori.
Like a lot of places in New Zealand, some of the most stunning places on the Banks Peninsula are pretty hard to get to and that’s why we’re taking a 4×4 minibus to get through the narrow and winding gravel roads.
As we are approaching our wildlife spotting area for today Ben is giving us loads of commentary on the way telling us about the conservation work that Pohatu Penguins does in the area.
A great place to see the result of this conservation effort is at the Akaroa Heads which is an awesome viewpoint overlooking the Pohatu Marine Reserve.
We’re on the lookout for seabirds like petrels and terns as well as New Zealand fur seals, hector’s dolphins and of course the little blue penguin but we’re definitely going to be seeing more of those little blue penguins later on tonight.
We’re trying to catch up with the group right now because we fell behind taking pictures and videos so now it’s a bit of a power walk to say the least.
After catching up with the group Ben stops a couple of times to show us a few extra stuff like some really unique plants that are only growing in this part of New Zealand it’s pretty fascinating.
Then we are hopping back on the van and we are making our way to the base of Pohatu Penguins.
The base of Pohatu Penguins is located in Flea Bay which is one of the largest blue penguin colonies in New Zealand with 2600 individuals on average it used to be a farm full of sheep but now the penguins are taking over.
Think no one’s home.
Nesting boxes and burrows are scattered all around the area to help the penguins settle here and to keep the sheep away from the nests if they are in big wooden boxes the sheep are usually staying away from it. And speaking of sheep, all those animals right here are fairly used to the tourists coming in because when the tourists are coming food is on its way. So the team from Pohatu Penguins is giving us heaps of food so we can feed the sheep in a massive frenzy they know food is here and they are ready to fight for it.
But in no time we are moving to the blue penguins themselves.
For the few penguin chicks that have been abandoned in their nests or injured out at sea, the Pohatu Penguin crew are taking them in rehabilitating them themselves getting them strong enough again to be released into the wild.
When it comes to feeding time for the little blue penguin chicks they are going crazy they’re super ravenous and they’re causing a lot of havoc trying to get those anchovies.
But these chicks right here are going to be staying here a little while longer in the rehabilitation centre but when the chicks start to reject their food that is when you know they are ready to be released back into the wild. And the guides here at Pohatu Penguins have a couple of chicks ready to be released so we’re gonna be checking those out now.
After giving us a few guide rules on how to behave during the release of the little blue penguins the team is taking the blue penguins towards the beach and we get to follow them. It’s really awesome. As soon as we arrive there they are literally dumping the on the sand and seeing if they are going to be following their instincts and rushing for the sea.
Our guide tells us that usually during the release of little blue penguins they either bolt for the water following their instinct or are starting running back to their houses but those one right here are a little confused and don’t know what to do. One of them is getting a lot of courage and is starting to run toward the water. It’s really cool to see it making its way across the rock and toward the massive waves I mean they are not really big but compared to it they are really huge if you guys look really closely right in the middle of the screen right now you can see it swimming toward the ocean and that’s the last we are gonna see of this individual.
For the last one it looks like it needs a push so our guide is literally picking it up and placing it near the waves but it doesn’t look like it’s really happy. It looks at us in a very angry way it looks like it’s really happy being hand fed every single day and it’s not ready to go fish for himself so it’s gonna stay in the water for a little bit, kind of stand off right now we are staring at it while he’s staring back at us and he’s making a little bit of an effort putting his feet in the water and showing us urgh kind of made an effort right here, I’m ready now, pick me up bring me back to the really luxurious lifestyle that I had before.
After the guides return this spoiled little blue penguin back to its nest they take us onto the coastal cliff walkway to take a look at more of the little blue penguins colony. We did do this part of the tour the other night more in detail for you guys so check out the video to that one linked in the cards above. The seal is still here after all those days as well as the little blue penguin colony which is still thriving we go to various different hides so we can take a look at the penguins returning from the ocean after a long days fishing. We watch the little blue penguins until the sun goes down and all in all it’s been an awesome wildlife filled day here in Akaroa.
The sheep are once again running down the hills in all directions coming to get some food we’re giving them some food like God sake sheep, get a hold of yourself, there’s so much grass around you are dying to get food off us.