Oamaru’s wildlife is set to make a splash on the international stage.
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is part of a University of Zurich and Museum of Design project recording the lives of animals across the world for the next year.
Science and environmental manager Dr Philippa Agnew set up a camera in August at penguins’ main entry to the colony, to record their movements, and sent the footage to Switzerland.
The colony is one of of 20 sites taking part from around the world, including Africa, Asia and America, but it is the only one in the South Pacific.
All footage will be displayed at the Museum of Design, in Zurich, to showcase the different environments.
“They’re going to create a round pavilion and from the 20 sites around the world, you’ll walk into it and there will be screens all around you and they will be showing time-lapse footage of all the sites,” Dr Agnew said.
“Essentially when it’s daylight on our footage, it’s going to be showing other footage in their nighttime and also their times of the year as well.”
It would highlight different research and climate changes.
She believed the colony was the only fully marine site involved, and its footage was well received by project leaders.
“Penguins isn’t something they see every day in Switzerland, so they were pretty smitten.”
The opportunity came through one of the projects’ New Zealand contacts, who recommended the colony. Dr Agnew jumped at the chance.
“I thought it was a really cool project to be involved in and knowing here there was not going to be a shortage of videos and different animals to see, and unique too.”
Downloading the footage always provided something different, with penguins, fur seals, paradise shelducks, rabbits and seagulls all making an appearance.
There was a lot more activity between the animals during the night than she expected.
“They seem to loiter quite a bit and do a lot of socialising in front of [the camera].”