Less than 400 Hoiho left in Aotearoa

2019's "Bird of the year", the Hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) has certainly been in the limelight in the world of birds. However, the existence of the penguin is currently at risk in Aotearoa with less than 400 left in the country.

Kelly Tarlton's penguin keeper, Amy Wardrop says that the nation as a whole can help preserve the life of the bird and penguins in general.

"We really need some bold and immediate action and that needs to happen now and if that doesn't happen, they're not gonna be around much longer.

"Keep your distance, give them space, if you're on the beach, keep your dog on a lead, it only takes seconds for your dog to jump over a sand dune and take a bite."

Joining the ranks of previous winners such as the Kererū, Kea, and the Kōkako, the Hoiho is the first 'sea-bird' to take out the competition in 14 years.

A picture of the Hoiho can be found on any New Zealand five-dollar bill. Source: File

A group of enthusiasts, called "Team Hoiho" in Dunedin deserve credit for the success of the penguin winning the competition as they have been campaigning for the bird for over a year.

Team member and Zoologist, Thor Elley (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) says their work isn't limited to social media posts, but they are currently working hard to extend the life of the sea-bird.

"Right now, our team members are helping with nest checks, disease screening, foraging and diet research and one of our members is off to the Sub-Antarctic in the Campbell islands to do nest counts, sometime this week.

"They just can't get enough food, after they've had their chicks they go through a catastrophic malt where they sit in the forest and lose of their feathers.... and because they just starve to death."