New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

existing only in this place, so the yellow-eyes are only in New Zealand, nowhere else in the world.

While we were on the Zodiacs we had a sea-based peak experience—a pod of about 6-10 dolphins around the boats in hunting behavior. It was really quite astonishing to watch the dolphins perform what we always thought of as “circus” tricks in a Sea World setting—leaping completely out of the water, turning flips both backwards and forwards in mid-air, swimming at great speeds in circles just under the water surface, rising out of the water vertically practically standing on their tails! It was awesome. The noise they made falling back into the water and hitting the surface smartly with their tails must have aided them in herding the school of fish they were hunting. This group technique is designed to get the school to form a tight ball for easy slicing by the dolphins as they feed on the fish. So we learned that the tricks we see these sea mammals perform for us in captivity are based on their natural behaviors. Again, we thank New Zealand and DOC for keeping these territorial waters under their protection! Such a wonderfully fun time it was to observe these intelligent and acrobatic creatures. Now a word about albatross conservation: it seems appropriate since Campbell Island is one of only two places left in the world where you are allowed to walk among these birds on their nests. (The other place is much further down towards Antarctica near South Georgia Island.) About 8,000 pairs of the Southern Royal Albatross nest on Campbell, the biggest gathering of this species anywhere. Male and female parents spend 5-6 days at a time incubating the eggs, trading off so the sitting bird can go off to sea for a meal because it does not eat during its 6-day stint. Their parental duties take 240 days from egg to fledging the chick. With such a huge and lengthy effort required to raise one chick, it is clear why these birds usually breed just once in two years. That aspect of their life cycle is one of the major challenges in their conservation; they do not reproduce themselves often enough to keep up with the loss of adult birds chiefly because of long line fishing and drift net fishing. These types of fishing involve very long lines with shiny bits of aluminum or other material attached to the lines at varying spaces. The shiny material attracts the albatross (many species of them, not just the

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