This report describes the results of ongoing population monitoring of New Zealand sea lions at the Auckland islands. This is the final report for the 2017/18 year.
This report summaries the pup production estimates for NZ sea lions at the Auckland Islands (Sandy Bay n=332, Dundas Island n=1,397), Figure of Eight Island n=TBA). Total pup produciton for Enderby and Dundas Island in 2017/18 is estimated at 1,729. The estimate for these two islands in 17/18 is 9% lower than for 16/17 and 31% higher than the lowest ever estimate for sea lion pup production at the Auckland Islands in 08/09.
The habitat of the Auckland Islands breeding colonies of New Zealand sealions contain a series of waterways including: streams, pool and peat bogs. The steep, high sides and undercut banks of these waterways can prove inescapable to the pups as they venture off the beach in late January. Many of these waterways have no viable means of escape for the pups and consequently they drown.
Sea lion researchers on the island during the breeding season have helped to reduce this mortality by rescuing trapped pups manually and installing wooden ramps to help the pups self-rescue. Monitoring of the ramps by cameras has occurred since the 2013/14 season. Enderby Island has 15 permanent and temporary ramps installed in Sandy Bay. Four of these were new in the 2017/18 season. Dundas Island has 9 ramps of various ages installed in its waterways.
Childerhouse, S., Burns, T., Michael, S., Godoy, D., McNutt, L. and McCormack, C. 2018. Preliminary report fir CSP project NZ sea lion monitoring at the Auckland Islands 2017/18. Prepared by Blue Planet Marine for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation, Wellington. 19 p.
Burns, T. 2018. Report on ramp use by NZ sea lion pups in the 2017/18 season in the Auckland Islands. Department of Conservation, Wellington. 6 p.