Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 22 April.
Applicant: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Species/Taxon: Little penguin, Eudyptula minor
Location: Various colonies around the state
Title of research: Winter Breeding of Little Penguins in Tasmania
Aim of project: The project aims to quantify winter breeding activity of little penguins across Tasmania, and measure the success of this activity at selected sites. Spatial patterns observed will be related to environmental data, to try and determine factors which may be triggering early breeding.
The project will fill major knowledge gaps about the ecology of little penguins in Tasmania. Winter breeding activity has become more common, emerging to replace typical summer breeding patterns. Very little is known about how much winter breeding is now occurring, or what is driving this phenological shift. Understanding the timing of breeding activity has direct implications on the management and conservation of the species, for example, it affects our understanding of breeding success or when population surveys should be conducted. Determining relationships between environmental drivers and penguin breeding will allow more accurate modelling of how the species may respond to changing conditions across their range.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: 100s to 1000s of birds will be surveyed, using minimally invasive methods.
Activities undertaken and methods: Colonies will be surveyed to determine the timing and amount of winter breeding activity occurring between May and June. Survey methods include the setting of camera traps or acoustic recording devices, nightly counts of penguins returning to the colony, and burrow occupancy surveys.
Fate of animals: No animals will be removed from the colony or touched by researchers.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch): Minor interference with birds. Largest impact will be disturbing birds briefly while doing burrow occupancy surveys, which will occur weekly to monthly depending on the site. These surveys are commonly conducted in seabird research, and have been shown to have little impact on the birds disturbed.