The sighting of a southern petrel on a beach at Hicks Bay, East Cape set international co-operation into action.

Date:  18 December 2014

By Jamie Quirk, Ranger Services, Gisborne

The sighting of a southern giant petrel on a beach at Hicks Bay, East Cape, recently set international co-operation into action. 

Southern giant petrel on Hermit Island.
Southern giant petrel

It turns out that the seabird was part of a long-term study.

We were able to find out that the petrel and its parents were from Hermit Island, near Palmer Station on the Antarctic Peninsula. It had travelled a long way and, by sharing its movements, we gave scientists invaluable information for their research.

Hermit Island.
Hermit Island

We know these seabirds circumnavigate the Southern Ocean, and at 10 months old, it's an amazing journey for one so young.

It was all about conservationists helping each other, working on similar work, an ocean away. 

The simple act of gaining information enables conservationists to understand the biology of the southern giant petrel. 

Southern giant petrel nest and chick.
Southern giant petrel nest and chick

Just like volunteers who assist us, we look to assist them in their endeavours.

The southern giant petrel story is a really great example of international co-operation between DOC and Polar Ocean Research Group (USA).  

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