A PENGUIN IN STRIPED ROMPERS
Paula cannot even think of going on with her bike. Two days of waiting in Dunedin mean two days of doing nothing but reading and relaxing. The rainfall is so strong that she is soaking wet from head to toe in a couple of minutes – even in the best outfit. Finally, the rainfall takes a break and Paula uses it to see yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago peninsula.
At the beaches of the Otago Peninsula, a major success story in the matter of species protection is taking place: the breeding of the rate and endangered yellow-eyed penguin. The population has been decimated because of humans and global warming and now there are only around 1,000 animals left. Thanks to the effective wildlife conservation programme, the species has been saved from extinction.
These animals are approximately 60 cm high and weigh between 5 and 8 kg. One can estimate their age by looking at the yellow band that goes from one eye around the back of their heads to the other eye; only older animals have that. The ecotourism group offers special tours. Specifically designed hiding places make it possible to view the penguins closely in their nesting places. This is particularly interesting during the breeding season from September to March.
Paula is lucky and meets the star of the day: a penguin in striped rompers. This poor guy has hurt itself at the back. It was in the “hospital” and in order not to scratch open its wound it is wearing rompers in “sailor style”. Understandably, it is embarrassed in front of the visitors and Paula even dares to take a picture!
On this one-hour guided tour, Paula sees sealions and fur seals. This is a complex paradise for nature lovers, Paula is convinced. Paula comes back to her Backpacker Lodge with all these impressions, drinks a hot tea immediately, takes a hot shower, and hopes that she can face the next day without a cold.