New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

yet. However, all signs point to overfishing in the waters around the islands where the sea lions feed. Because the mother does not get adequate nutrition herself, her milk is not as rich as the pups need and they do not thrive. For the same reason, many pups exhibit low birth weights and never recover from that poor start. Last year about 80-90% of the pups on Enderby died. This year calving is late by two weeks and no one knows what that portends. DOC continues its research and monitoring to try to solve this riddle. One postulated theory for the starvations maybe a phenomenon impervious to any DOC actions: the perceived southern migration of the Southern Convergence. This convergence is responsible for a huge upwelling of nutrients from the sea bottom and it has sat in the territory of these Subantarctic Islands. If the Convergence is moving south through natural occurrence, human beings are probably not going to be able to change the direction. Despite these dismal numbers for the sea lions, there are other success stories on Enderby besides the albatross. The brown teal is making a comeback here and we were lucky enough to see a couple of them on a peaty bog lake as we circumambulated the island. The cormorants are doing well too as are the giant petrels on the island. We were lucky enough to see a large giant petrel chick on its nest during our walk, a gray furball huddled away from the wind under the low growing plant. So we did not leave this enchanted island unduly depressed. But we do trust that there is hope for the wonderful sea lions.

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