Finding Little Blue

Background[edit | edit source]

flb logo.png

A Curious Minds project. Korora / Little Blue Penguin (Eudyptula minor) populations in New Zealand are nationally defined as “at risk, declining”. 

In 2018 there was no recorded accessible information about where Little Blue Penguins in Taranaki go when they leave the nest to feed, nor what the accurate population numbers are. We are seeing increasing records of dead penguins, so it seemed urgent to find out more about their daily lives. In order to do this, we first needed to know where they are nesting and where they return to, so scientists will be able to fix tracking devices and download the data.  With the uncertainties of climate change, and sea-level rise which will affect penguin food sources and nesting sites, decision-makers need to have more accurate information about the absolutely protected wildlife so as to provide the best planning for the region. This project engaged locals and schools in using the latest digital technology to study Taranaki penguins.

Project Overview[edit | edit source]

  • Finding Little Blue worked with classes at two coastal schools (Puketapu School and Devon Intermediate). The weekly workshops introduced the biology of penguins and the threats to the birds.
  • With the help of Bright Sparks the children built the wireless monitoring technology and brainstormed other potential monitoring methods that may improve the project. Other schools may request to be engaged through the Bright Sparks programme.
  • Field work involved identifying the burrow areas and explored potential issues within the burrowing habitats. The iNaturalist project 'Little Blue Penguin Monitoring' was used for data collection.
  • The technology part of the project explored the 'Internet of Things' (IOT). See the gallery below.
  • North Taranaki camp-ground owners and residents in Waiiti, Urenui, Bell Block, Fitzroy, Moturoa and Oakura contributed to the project.
  • The staff at Port Taranaki assisted us where they can, and hosted school field trips into the port to see .
  • The collection of this data and action projects by the schools raised awareness about local penguin populations and habitats.

Partners[edit | edit source]

Devon Intermediate School, Puketapu School, Andrew Hornblow - Bright Sparks, and Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society

Project Report[edit | edit source]

Visit the 'Finding Little Blue' website See the reports from the citizen scientists at Puketapu School and Devon Intermediateand what the community did to assist.

The penguin cam at Port Taranaki confirms the datalogging information as to birds in the nest box.

This view of the coastline in New Plymouth shows typical penguin nesting habitat. Please be careful with dogs in the area, as penguins are very vulnerable so close to the walkway. The colour of the penguin icon indicates if a bird is at home (blue) in the monitored nest (actually at Port Taranaki) or pink = away.

Resources[edit | edit source]

student datalogger

Visit our education pages with activities for students and resources for teachers on Moodle - Finding Little Blue

This project followed on from Project Hotspot, the Curious Minds project which encouraged school children to use iNaturalist to record the little blue penguins in Taranaki.

Our website Finding Little Blue has a blog and more information

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Poupart T, Waugh S, Bost C, Bost C-A, Dennis T, Lane R, Rodgers K, Sugishita J, Taylor GA, Wilson J, Zhang J, Arnould JPY (submitted) Variability in the foraging range of Eudyptula minor across breeding sites in central New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology
  2. Project Hotspot Little blue penguin sightings recorded as part of www.hotspot.org.nz

Internet of Things