Princess Cruises is enhancing its ecological commitments in New Zealand to foster the well-being of Blue Penguin populations. Additionally, the cruise line is working hard to preserve the last known Yellow-Eye Penguin colony on New Zealand’s mainland.
These conservation efforts can provide amazing wildlife viewing opportunities for cruise travelers in responsible and sustainable ways to safeguard these stunning birds.
Safeguarding New Zealand’s Flightless Spheniscidae Birds
“Spheniscidae” is the scientific family name for what most people simply refer to as penguins. Princess Cruises plans to strengthen its dedication to animal welfare in New Zealand by supporting efforts to protect local Blue Penguin populations and to conserve New Zealand’s last Yellow-Eye Penguin mainland colony.
Princess Cruises will intensify its efforts through the Princess Local Partnerships program, which helps fund Natures Wonders — a key player in protecting New Zealand’s wildlife — to safeguard local habitats and fauna.
“This expanded partnership will further support community-based conservation efforts in New Zealand playing a pivotal role in the protection of these treasured species for generations to come,” Stuart Allison, a Senior Vice President for Princess Cruises, remarked.
This cooperation will support habitat development for a growing Blue Penguin colony in Otago, on New Zealand’s South Island. While Blue Penguins, also called Little Penguins or Fairy Penguins, are not considered endangered or threatened, they are vulnerable to a variety of threats.
The collaboration between Princess Cruises and Nature Wonders is also focused on the preservation of the only and thus the largest Yellow-Eye Penguin colony on the mainland.
“With the generous funding from Princess Cruises, we will be building more nesting boxes for the flourishing Blue Penguin colony and extending our predator-free boundary,” said Perry Reid, Nature Wonders owner.
Princess Local Partnerships program will provide capital that will benefit the Blue Penguin colony with habitat construction and predator control. This protection model will also extend to defend the nearby Yellow-Eyed Penguin colony.
“We expect that this [conservation effort] will have a huge impact on Blue Penguin numbers while also preserving the neighboring Yellow-Eyed Penguin colony as well,” Reid added.
Princess Cruises, which has seen an uptick in web traffic that bodes well for future bookings, will deploy four ships in New Zealand for the summer 2023 cruising season.
Coral Princess will set sail from Auckland on September 16, 2023. Royal Princess will arrive in Tauranga on October 18, while Grand Princess will visit several ports over the summer. The Fincantieri-built 144,216-ton Majestic Princess will call upon Auckland on October 30, 2023.
Princess Local Partnerships Programs
The Princess Local Partnerships program was started in 2019, subsidized by guest donations. These donations help preserve local wildlife, like the bluish-gray semi-nocturnal Blue Penguins (the smallest penguin species) and Yellow-Eyed Penguins, both of which are native to New Zealand but have distinct characteristics that set them apart.
Yellow-Eyed Penguins have a unique call, which researchers have labeled as almost semi-musical when compared to other types of penguin calls. These endangered birds have a yellow band of feathers running across their eyes and the crest on their heads. They are mostly found on the South Island, especially on the Otago Peninsula. They are one of the world’s rarest penguin species.
Another worthy cause that the Princess Local Partnership program has helped out with is the Bay Bush Action in the Bay of Islands, which is a group of islands located off the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Since its inception, Bay Bush Action has garnered substantial results, including a 120% increase in Kiwi (the flightless bird, not the fruit) numbers in the Opua State Forest, along with an increase in other native bird species like the Kokako. Furthermore, the project has helped restore previously neglected forestland and has also created jobs, bolstering the local economy.
Birdwatching, whale spotting, and observing seals and other creatures in their natural habitats are just some of the reasons why the Princess Local Partnerships program and Natures Wonders are so vital to preserving the flora and fauna living in this part of the world.
Local communities benefit from these conservation efforts, as do the travelers who sail to these shores to view the many natural splendors New Zealand has to offer.