Waiheke penguin plight reveals our damaged relationship with nature


OPINION: We have to prioritise our wildlife if we wish to defend it. It appears so apparent, and but financial motives practically all the time trump ecological integrity.

The work on a deliberate marina at Kennedy Level on Waiheke Island the place the kororā (little blue penguin) nest is a working example.

Builders had been to start the work in Could by eradicating some rocks on the base of a wall the place the kororā burrow.

Because of the braveness and fortitude of a protest group known as Save Kennedy Level, the destruction of the penguin’s dwelling was placed on ice.


With authorized avenues exhausted, the protectors at Kennedy Level say they’ve no selection however to occupy the seashore.

* Kennedy Level marina: Waiheke group vows ‘it ain’t over but’
* Arrests at Waiheke’s Kennedy Level as battle to guard penguins escalates
* Seashore occupiers protesting Waiheke marina will go away — on hīkoi to Parliament
* 4-year court docket battle over as Waiheke marina builders and campaigners settle

The protesters kayaked and snorkelled across the bay to forestall the development employees starting the destruction of the wall. Heroes – every one.

There fairly merely isn’t any ying with out yang. If you wish to assemble one thing, it typically includes the destruction of one thing else.

Or to place it one other method, to make an omelette you must break a couple of eggs.

People opposed to the Kennedy Point marina protest outside the developers' offices in Takapuna, Auckland.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

Individuals against the Kennedy Level marina protest outdoors the builders’ places of work in Takapuna, Auckland.

Within the case of Kennedy’s Level, we could also be breaking a couple of metaphorical eggs of the kororā to assemble a marina for boats and other people to get pleasure from.

The plight of the kororā shouldn’t be rocket science, however it’s ecological science, which is arguably far more essential for us to get our heads round. And our hearts. As a result of we have to take care of the atmosphere, see it is value in ecological, non secular, cultural and aesthetic phrases and never simply greenback indicators.

The kororā is a tāoka (treasured) species and a protected native species. It’s the smallest penguin species on the planet.

Builders have reportedly hit again on the protesters, saying they’re “dedicated to defending the birds”.

Waiheke Native Bird Rescue's Karen Saunders with a little blue penguin.


Waiheke Native Bird Rescue’s Karen Saunders with a bit blue penguin.

They contacted Waiheke Native Bird Rescue normal supervisor Karen Saunders asking her to take away penguins on web site, however she wasn’t having it, calling the dialog “repulsive”.

Saunders made the purpose that the destruction of penguin habitat was unlawful underneath the Wildlife Act.

Saunders additionally stated it was animal cruelty – which it’s. The rock wall incorporates 27 burrows, and these are the penguins’ houses.

The burrow is extraordinarily essential to the kororā. It’s the place they nest and produce up their younger. Kororā are trustworthy to their dwelling web site and can typically nest solely metres from the place they hatched.

Based on Saunders, the Waiheke penguins’ welfare was in danger as there had been a late breeding season. Pairs that had been unsuccessful the primary time could have gone into second-time breeding mode and will have had a fledgling lately.

They’d then exit and eat for 2 to 3 weeks earlier than returning dwelling to moult.

Principally, if their burrow has been destroyed then they are going to be chilly and homeless and burdened. After they moult they can not swim and so are particularly susceptible.

The kororā is definitely disturbed by people. The Division of Conservation says they’re declining in numbers partly attributable to interference from people.

They get caught in set nets. They’re susceptible to local weather change and ocean air pollution. They’re additionally declining attributable to habitat destruction and assaults by launched species akin to dogs and cats.

It’s insanity. And the kororā is only one of many species which can be declining worldwide on account of human exercise.


Save Kennedy Level and Whānau of Piritahi Marae are campaigning to cease the development of a marina at Kennedy Level on Waiheke Island.

The WWF Residing Planet Report 2020 revealed a world species lack of 68 per cent in lower than 50 years. This consists of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles.

The report says that 70 per cent of this loss has been brought on by conversion of land for agriculture. WWF says the findings of the report are clear: “Our relationship with nature is damaged.”

Sure certainly. The destruction of kororā habitat to make room for a marina is certainly a symptom of our damaged relationship with nature.

Bugs are present process mass-extinction occasions as nicely, regardless of outweighing humanity by 17 occasions.

Urbanisation, local weather change, use of pesticides and habitat destruction have all contributed to the harrowing statistics: 40 per cent of insect species are declining and a 3rd are endangered. Bugs are essentially the most numerous and ample animals on earth and they’re critically essential to the well being of ecosystems.

Insects are vital to the world's ecosystems, but 40 per cent of species are declining and a third are endangered.

Jennifer Schori/equipped

Bugs are very important to the world’s ecosystems, however 40 per cent of species are declining and a 3rd are endangered.

In my lifetime there was a lot biodiversity loss. The planet is now at the beginning of the sixth nice extinction in historical past.

The type of grief this causes me, and others like me, is monumental. It’s like somebody is popping off the lights, nature is dimming and life is fading away.

That is the apocalypse. It hurts.

The time period for this sort of ache was coined in 2018 and is known as ecological grief. We really feel it when we’ve an in depth relationship with the pure atmosphere.

So let’s all rise up for the kororā and each single animal that continues to be threatened by people.

The time is now.

Dr Lynley Tulloch is a lecturer in training, specialising in sustainability training.



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