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"For three days the TV program, led by former actor Jason Raize, swarmed over the island filming the many hours of footage that will result in the half-hour program."
--The Australian

 




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<< Canton, GA Cherokee Tribune feature about Keeping it Wild's production company

The Australian
Fairy Penguins Lead Wildlife Charge on to TV
by Jeremy Roberts
November 14, 2001





About 12,000 fairy penguins being studied by Charles Sturt University on an island off the NSW south coast will be the stars of a nature program to be screened on US television this month.

And David Attenborough's new BBC series The Life of Mammals will begin with a sequence filmed at the University of New England all about marsupials.

An Australian crew has filmed week-old antechinus, Australia's marsupial shrew, to show the difference between the pouch-based reproduction of marsupials and that of other mammals for the series to screen in Britain next year.

Filming of the eudyptula minors (latin for "good little divers'') on Montague Island, about 9km off Narooma, meanwhile, has just wrapped and the results will be broadcast on the popular US nature program Keeping it Wild.

Keeping it wild is exactly what Nick Klomp of Charles Sturt University has been attempting to do for the past eight years.  "I see my role as both conservationist and land manager for the island,'' associate professor Klomp, the research leader on Montague Island, said.

The small uninhabited island is a nature reserve administered by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service and so the penguins, seabirds and fur seals which stay there enjoy the highest form of environmental protection.

For three days the TV program, led by former actor Jason Raize, swarmed over the island filming the many hours of footage that will result in the half-hour program.

"It was aimed at a young adult audience and they asked me about what we were doing to conserve the penguins and their environment,'' Professor Klomp said.

"The Americans should love it because they don't have penguins in the northern hemisphere.''

Montague Island's fairy penguin colony is one of the largest in the world and struggles from year to year with varying food supplies from the ocean.

In spite of this, Professor Klomp said, the number of breeding pairs on the island has remained fairly constant over the past eight years.

The TV program focused on the university's plan to prevent kikuyu grass encroaching on the penguins' breeding grounds by planting 20,000 trees and shrubs and placing 200 penguin nesting boxes.

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