Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony Scientist, Dr Philippa Agnew, reports on transponder training with Trust Ranger Linden Brown back in November.
“We’ve had a very big week this week, inserting 197 microchips into little penguin chicks and adults! We couldn’t have done it without help from a fantastic crew! Thanks to Rachel from the University of Otago, Deleece from Forest & Bird – Places for Penguins, Henry who used to work for us and came back to Oamaru give us a hand, Linden from West Coast Penguin Trust and our team, Nia, Kelsey & Philippa.”
This was a fabulous opportunity for new Trust Ranger, Linden Brown. The West Coast Penguin Trust has been gradually using chips (just like those used for cats and dogs) to identify penguins and inserting the chips, known as Passive Integrated Transponders or PIT tags, and Linden will be tagging blue penguins at our Charleston study site this coming breeding season. Joining the team at Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony as they chipped their latest penguin chicks meant that he gained both the hands on experience and the necessary ‘Level 2’ wildlife banding qualification to inject the tiny chips under a penguin’s skin.
The Trust is expecting to take delivery of a fixed PIT tag reader in time for the next breeding season. It will be installed at a pinch point where blue penguins come ashore and every time a chipped penguin passes the reader, it will be logged and a great deal more will be learned about the comings and goings of these penguins.