Tasmanian companies Helicopter Resources and Pennicott Wilderness Journeys joined the Parks and Wildlife Service for a conservation working bee on Tasman Island on 25 March.
The day was part of the ongoing monitoring being undertaken by the Parks and Wildlife Service following the successful eradication of feral cats from Tasman Island in 2010.
Helicopter Resources provided the use of a 10-seater helicopter to transport 21 Pennicott Wilderness Journeys staff and six Parks and Wildlife Service staff to the island.
Chief pilot Leigh Hornsby said the company had an opportunity to provide the helicopter free of charge and was only too pleased to help a good cause. This continues Helicopter Resources' involvement with conservation projects undertaken by the Parks and Wildlife Service, including the eradication project on Tasman Island and more recently on Macquarie Island as well.
For Pennicott Wilderness Journeys staff, it was a unique opportunity to see the successful outcomes of the eradication on Tasman Island. The island is home to Australia’s largest colony of fairy prions, but a population of 50 feral cats was decimating the seabird population, killing 50,000 birds every year. Since the eradication, there has been a recovery in populations of seabirds on Tasman Island – particularly fairy prions and short-tailed shearwaters.
Robert Pennicott was a major supporter of the eradication project, through a $100,000 donation to the Tasmanian Coast Conservation Fund he established with Wildcare.
"I'm immensely proud to be supporting conservation work on Tasman Island. Our boats cruise past here every day and this is a fantastic opportunity for my staff to see the positive impact on the island’s seabird population and also to learn more about Tasman Island itself. "
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys staff were involved in counting the occupancy of short tailed shearwater burrows as part of ongoing monitoring of the species on the island. Short tailed shearwater chicks were weighed as part of a health assessment of the birds. They also assisted in the monitoring program for the Lewin's rail, a ground bird found on the island.
Staff also joined Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment biologist Sue Robinson with cat detection dog, Shark, as they recovered the remote monitoring cameras that are in place across Tasman Island.
Parks and Wildlife Service staff undertook maintenance works on the three light house keepers' residences, ensuring that they remain weatherproof against the elements.