Dolphins, penguins and cats!

It's been another busy month working on a variety of projects, but here's some highlights that we've managed to put together!

Hector's dolphin risk assessment workshop

After attending the ISEC confernce in Scotland last month, Darryl stepped of the plane back to New Zealand and, literally, straight into a risk assessment workshop for Hector's and Maui dolphins. The purpose of the workshop was to review the available information on these dolphin species, and how that could be used to assess risk from a variety of threats. The workshop bought together national and international experts on cetacean research, statistics and modelling. A key focus was discussion of a spatially explicit risk assessment method implemented by a research team from the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). At the workshop Darryl provided an overview of the abundance and distribution estimates for Hector's dolphin obtained from the aerial surveys conducted between 2010-2016, as well providing a statistician's viewpoint on many of the topics discussed. Needless to say, after two weeks in Scotland and straight into a four day risk assessment workshop in New Zealand, Darryl was certainly ready for a stiff drink on the plane ride home!

Yellow-eyed penguin data review

Yellow-eyed penguin, or hoiho, is an endemic penguin species that is listed in New Zealand as Threatened-Nationally Endangered. There are estimated to be 400-600 breeding pairs on the South Island, and the total population size is in the order of a few, to several, thousand individuals. The bulk of the population is believed to be in the sub-Antarctic islands (e.g., Auckland and Campbell Islands), although there have been few rigorous surveys of these areas. On the mainland, hoiho have experienced periodic mass-mortality events, and there have been numerous nesting and tagging studies conducted at known breeding sites since the 1980s. Proteus has been engaged by the Ministry for Primary Industries to review the available data held in a centralised database that contributors have deposited their data to. The purpose of the review is to assess the level to which multi-threat risk assessments could be conducted for specific sub-populations. The outcome of the review will help determine the next steps forward in the conservation of this iconic New Zealand species.

Snow leopard invite

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Darryl has been invited to attend the International Conference on Snow Leopard Conservation (ICSC) in Shenzhen. He will also join leading statisticians and snow leopard ecologists as a special invitee to the meeting of the technical oversight panel supervising the ambitious initiative called the Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopards (PAWS). Snow leopards are currently distributed in the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia, and the global population is estimated to be less than 10,000. Major threats to the snow leopard throughout it's range include habitat loss and poaching. Darryl and Proteus is honoured to be able to join with international governments and organisations, contributing towards the conservation efforts for snow leopards.