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
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
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
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
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.