Tuesday Jan 17, 2017
Scientists are this week heading to the subantarctic Auckland Islands for an annual survey of white-capped albatross and New Zealand sea lion numbers in the remote and windswept region.
White-capped albatross are endemic to New Zealand and breed on the Auckland Islands in the Southern Ocean, 465km south of Bluff.
The survey, carried out by helicopter, will track albatross population size and trends.
Hundreds of thousands of the white-capped albatross breed on the Auckland Islands each year, estimated to be over 95 per cent of the worldwide population.
In its ninth year, this year's white-capped albatross census is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, Seafood New Zealand, Deepwater Group and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
Funding in previous years had come from either DoC or MPI, but because of limited resources due to Conservation Services Programme efforts on the Chatham Islands, others were needed to step up.
"The survey allows us to create valuable datasets that give consistent information on breeding patterns and adult populations," said Richard Wells of Deepwater Group, a co-operative of deepwater fisheries quota owners.
A survey of New Zealand sea lion pups will take place simultaneously.