3 weeks ago

Sea Week

We are devastated to learn of the passing of Dr Roger Grace, marine biologist, conservationist, photographer, mentor to many and an inspiration to everyone he met. A quiet, determined & lovely man who dedicated his life to protecting our oceans & campaigning for no take marine reserves. Roger was a good friend of Seaweek and did many talks & events for us over the last 10 years as well as donating many of his stunning images for us to use - like this one that featured on our 2014 poster. We will miss you very much Roger, it was always a pleasure to spend time with you, rest in peace. It would be fantastic if we could finally have a national network of marine reserves to be proud of as a tribute to your lifetime's work. ... See MoreSee Less

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LeopardSeals.org

LeopardSeals.org

Voting for the Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion competition is now open until midnight Friday 1 March 2019. 
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges
VOTE NOW BY CLICKING HERE

LeopardSeals.org is a research group run by volunteers who dedicate their time to promote the research, advocacy and management of leopard seals in New Zealand. We saw a need to determine the occurrence and distribution of leopard seals in New Zealand. We have since expanded our research to include examination of diet, reproduction and population demographics. LeopardSeals.org is actively engaged with local Iwi groups, local marinas and the Department of Conservation to identify ways we can manage human-leopard seal conflict in the marine environment.
Senior Ocean Champion Challenge Name: Living alongside leopard seals
What is the problem your Ocean Challenge is trying to solve? While leopard seals are usually considered an Antarctic/sub-Antarctic species, they are known to travel northward and New Zealand is part of their normal range. One individual has been documented for more than six years, spending the majority of her time in highly populated urban areas. Leopard seals have been sighted across all regions of New Zealand and are present all year round which means human-leopard seal interactions are not uncommon. Whilst most of these interactions are positive, negative human-leopard seal interactions can have considerable impacts on human safety and animal welfare. A program which creates opportunities for local communities to become actively involved in leopard seal research and conservation is needed to promote co-existence between humans and leopard seals in New Zealand waters.
How will your Ocean Challenge solve this problem? Be specific – identify objectives, actions and outcomes: 
The goal of this project is to create opportunities for local communities to become actively involved in strategies which will promote co-existence between humans and leopard seals in
New Zealand waters. To achieve this three main objectives have been identified.
These objectives are to:

  1. Promote and encourage community involvement in research of leopard seals in New Zealand.
  2. Provide opportunities for local communities to become actively involved in Leopard seal management in New Zealand.
  3. Extend existing advocacy and educational programs to increase public awareness of leopard seals in urban environments.

How will you engage with others to undertake your Ocean Challenge? 
We will engage others to take part in our ocean challenge in the following ways:
Objective 1: Promote and encourage community involvement in research of leopard seals in New Zealand.

  • Members of the public are encouraged to become ‘citizen scientists’ and actively engage in our research through the collection of identification photographs  and scats (leopard seal faeces).
  • Members of the public are encouraged to report leopard seal sightings so sighting records can be added to the New Zealand Leopard Seal Database via:
  • The on-going collation of this data will enable the status of this species to be reassessed on an evidential basis and for the species to be recognised as an intrinsic part of native fauna of New Zealand.

Objective 2: Provide opportunities for local communities to become actively involved in Leopard seal management in New Zealand.
In an effort to manage the public around leopard seals in highly populated areas we intend to develop a volunteer monitoring group. Volunteers will be trained in educating the public about leopard seals in New Zealand. They are responsible for keeping community members at a safe distance from the seals when they haul out in public places and to assist with erecting signage to alert people to the presence of a leopard seal. Our volunteer program will initially be trialed in Auckland, with the hope to expand this program across New Zealand. A case study of leopard seal-human conflict is underway and aims to understand the factors that contribute to human-wildlife conflict in New Zealand and how these conflicts might be resolved and prevented in the future. This research will have implications not only for leopard seal management but also human-wildlife conflict management in New Zealand. Additionally, we have developed and distributed the ‘Leopard Seals in Marina’ guidelines to assist New Zealand marinas with managing leopard seals in such public areas. Ongoing assistance and advice in the management of leopard seals has also been provided to the Department of Conservation and other interested stakeholders.
Objective 3: Extend existing advocacy and educational programs to increase public awareness.

  • We intend to conduct a series of public talks and education programs (i.e. in schools, scout groups etc.) to promote better safety for leopard seals and members of the public and provide people with information about what to do if they encounter a leopard seal.
  • We intend to engage with members of the community through public events such as the Westhaven Marina day and the Auckland boat show.
  • We will provide community members with advocacy materials such as flyers, stickers and sightings cards which contain information about how to report sightings and keep themselves save around leopard seals.
  • We will use social media to strengthen public awareness and understanding of leopard seal presence in New Zealand.

How will you measure the success of your Ocean Challenge? 
We will measure success through:

  • Collecting leopard seal sighting data before and after the ocean challenge to evaluate how the number of sightings reported change over time in response to the event.
  • Providing surveys to members of the public which ask questions about the public perception of leopard seals. We will assess these surveys before and after the ocean challenge to evaluate how perceptions change over time in response to the event.
  • Feedback from local schools and community groups.
  • Engagement on social media.

More information:https://www.facebook.com/LeopardsealsightingsNZ/
Entry supported / validated by: Scott Trask
Voting for the Seaweek 2019 Senior Ocean Champion competition is now open until midnight Friday 1 March 2019. 
Click here to see all the Seaweek 2019 Ocean Champion Challenges
VOTE NOW BY CLICKING HERE

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3 weeks ago

Sea Week

We are devastated to learn of the passing of Dr Roger Grace, marine biologist, conservationist, photographer, mentor to many and an inspiration to everyone he met. A quiet, determined & lovely man who dedicated his life to protecting our oceans & campaigning for no take marine reserves. Roger was a good friend of Seaweek and did many talks & events for us over the last 10 years as well as donating many of his stunning images for us to use - like this one that featured on our 2014 poster. We will miss you very much Roger, it was always a pleasure to spend time with you, rest in peace. It would be fantastic if we could finally have a national network of marine reserves to be proud of as a tribute to your lifetime's work. ... See MoreSee Less

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