New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

Chapter 12. Snare's Island This island is north of Enderby, so you can tell that we are sailing back closer and closer to the New Zealand mainland islands. DOC has a big responsibility in this island group because it is the only forested one of the subantarctic islands that

has never been invaded by any alien species of mammals, not even mice! Though DOC cannot claim that its efforts created this edenic environment, it must work to keep the island pristine. Thus, visitors are no longer allowed to land on this bit of granite. Only researchers and scientists can

walk its territory. We visited it anyway—by Zodiacs. Of course, we never got off them, but these useful craft could get us close to the land where we could observe the antics of the comical Snare’s Island Crested Penguins. There were many rocky and slick slides barren of plants that the penguins use to go from sea to their nests up on the island. These slippery spots seemed impossible for the little awkward birds to climb, but climb them they did and really quite niftily too. This penguin is fairly small reaching 25 to 28 inches in height and weighing from 5 to 8 lbs. The males are slightly larger than the females and their robust red bills are heavier than those of the females. Both sexes sport the characteristic sulphur-yellow feathers starting over the eyes like a brow and culminating in a droopy, bushy crest. They are blue black on their upperparts and white on the underparts. They are quite comical in these formal feathers as they waddle about—really just like all the other penguins. t

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