The recent earthquake caused widespread damage throughout many areas of North Canterbury and Marlborough. Kaikoura was especially hard hit, with the coastal landscape undergoing dramatic changes in just a few short minutes. Our Trustees seem to have come out of it reasonably well, though their stoic “I’m OK” assertions may well have disguised much more serious situations with regard to their property. Obviously this event will have major effects on the people and economy of Kaikoura for a long time to come. The two Hutton’s shearwater mountain colonies were also affected by major landslides which covered parts of both colonies. It is not yet clear what impact this has had on the populations; this will have to wait for an on the ground assessment when it is deemed safe and resources permit (we welcome any donations to help with this through our Givealittle page). Initial estimates indicate that 10 – 30% of the two sites have been affected. The timing was unfortunate with breeding in full swing, and many birds being underground at this time of night. These events highlight the reasons for their ‘At Risk – Declining’ conservation status, a status which may need revision in the light of these events. Though their total population is relatively high their breeding colonies occupy a relatively small area, at constant risk from landslides and avalanches, as well as predation and trampling. The good news is that both the infrastructure and birds at the Te Rae o Atiu colony appear to have escaped unscathed. When we have any updates they will be posted on our Facebook page.
The photo below shows the valley below the hut.