Posts categorized as Disasters

Are muttonbirds radioactive?

  • Good enough to eat. Roast titi await palatability testing. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A muttonbirder holds a pre-season titi (sooty shearwater chick). Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult sooty shearwater (kaiaka), Kundy Island. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Adult sooty shearwaters (kaiaka) depart from Rerewhakaupoko (Solomon Island) at dawn. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

The March 2011 Japanese earthquake and following tsunami took a terrible human toll, and also had devastating impacts on wildlife. As the tsunami tracked east it washed over the low-lying atolls of the north-western Hawaiian islands, killing thousands of albatrosses and petrels. The tsunami also crippled the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power-plant, sending a plume of radiation… Read more »

One step forward after three steps back – slow progress with restoring populations of New Zealand seabirds

  • Colin Miskelly holding a fluttering shearwater chick, Mana Island, January 2012. Photo: Kate McAlpine & Colin Miskelly
  • Translocated fluttering shearwater chick being fed a sardine smoothy, Mana Island, January 2007. Photo: David Cornick
  • Diving petrels and fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • Diving petrels and fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly

2011 was a grim year for New Zealand seabirds. They suffered the triple-whammy of nuclear-fallout from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant affecting the North Pacific non-breeding grounds of at least four species, a severe winter storm that killed up to half a million prions, then the Rena oil spill believed to have killed several… Read more »

Riders of the storm – the severely depleted next generation

  • Broad-billed prion chick, Trig Island, Codfish Island, December 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Trig Island, off the east coast of Codfish Island. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa, December 2011
  • Prions killed during the July 2011 storm event. Photo: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fluttering shearwaters killed by the Rena oil spill. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

2011 was a terrible year for New Zealand seabirds. The Rena oil spill in October received the most media coverage and provided dramatic images (see Rena oil spill blogs). More insidious were the impacts of the Japanese earthquake and ensuing tsunami in March. A plume of radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power… Read more »

Oilspill update

Red-billed gull oiled at Maketu. Photograph by and reproduced courtesy of Dominique Filippi

Dead oiled wildlife continues to be collected from Bay of Plenty beaches, and the Te Papa Natural Environment team has been assisting with the Wildlife Recovery Centres activities of documenting and recovering species affected by the oil. The species found oiled include the many birds which nest in the Bay of Plenty: most birds returned… Read more »

What bird is that? The grim task of identifying seabirds killed by the M.V. Rena oil spill

  • Cause and effect. Dead Buller's shearwaters spell the name of the Rena, with 2 northern giant petrels to the left, and rows of fluttering shearwaters and diving petrels above. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Karen and Lucy with oiled seabirds inside the pathology tent. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly (Te Papa's Curator Terrestrial Vertebrates) with a heavily olied northern giant petrel. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Fluttering shearwaters coated in oil from the M.V. Rena. Photo: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa bird staff are providing expert assistance to Maritime New Zealand and Massey University veterinary staff in the form of identifying birds affected by the oil spill. Three current and one former staff member have been a ‘tag team’ since 12 October, identifying the hundreds of corpses recovered by the teams patrolling the beaches,… Read more »

Bay of Plenty oilspill – Potential for impacts on seabird populations

New Zealand marine areas are home to a wide variety of wildlife, with many unique and threatened species inhabiting our waters. New Zealand’s title as World Seabird Capital is unchallenged, with 1/3 of the worlds’ 346 species present in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone, including ½ of the 22 albatross species of the world. A… Read more »