The Yellow-Eyed Penguin (hoiho) is found only in the southern reaches of New Zealand – on the South Island, Rakiura and subantarctic islands. We don’t really know how many hoiho there are left, but they are classed as nationally vulnerable. Their population on the mainland fluctuates, but worryingly in the last year it has dropped to only 200 breeding pairs.
Hoiho face many threats in the sea when they are hunting, but they are used to having a safe haven on land. Trouble is that on land they also now face many threats, including predators (such as cats and stoats), disease, human interference and habitat destruction (they like privacy for nesting).
We all owe a debt to the hard work of the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust for keeping these amazing creatures going. In Conservation Week we should also acknowledge that there are many other groups out there every weekend doing their bit for our native species in their local area.