This report describes the results of continued ground survey population monitoring of New Zealand sea lions at the Auckland Islands, undertaken in early 2014.
New Zealand sea lion monitoring was undertaken between 9 January and 9 March 2014 at Figure of Eight Island, Dundas Island and Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands group. The research closely followed previously used methodology with a few minor exceptions (e.g. monitoring at Dundas Island was 2 days earlier than previously). Overall, the research went well and achieved all stated objectives.
Pup production was estimated for New Zealand sea lion colonies at Sandy Bay (n=290), Dundas Island (n=1,213), Figure of Eight Island (n=72) and South East Point (n=0) with total pup production for the Auckland Islands in 2013/14 estimated as 1575. This total represents an 18% decline on the estimate from 2013 and is the third lowest total pup production recorded for the Auckland Islands.
Seven hundred and eleven pups were double flipper tagged at Sandy Bay (n=287), Dundas Island (n=400), Figure of Eight Island (n=24) and South East Point (n=0).
A total of 11,076 individual tag, brand and micro-chip resightings were made during the field season. Most of the resighting records were from tags (n=9,982; 90%) with brand and micro-chip resighting comprising approximately 5% each (n=530 and 560 respectively). This season represents the highest ever number of resighting records collected; five times more than in 2012/13 and 1.4 times more than the previously highest season in 2002/03 (2012/13 = 2,262; 2011/12 = 6,914; 2002/03 = 8,139). Most resightings (99%) were collected on Enderby Island and most (95%) of these at Sandy Bay.
This report was commissioned by the Department of Conservation, Project POP2013-01
By Childerhouse S., Hamer, D., Maloney, A., Michael, S., Donnelly, D., and Schmitt, N.