Curioi Bay wildlife brochure

Curio Bay volunteer rangers
Every summer the Department of Conservation trains and
supports volunteer rangers who are based at Curio Bay
for up to a month at a time. The rangers educate visitors
about how to enjoy their stay and how to help conserve
our unique wildlife and environments.
All beaches in this area are part of the Catlins Coast
Marine Mammal Sanctuary. There is also a set-net
ban in place to help protect Hector’s dolphins. Please
familiarise yourself with the Ministry of Primary
Industries rules and regulations which are signposted in
the campground.
Rangers also help with predator control, surveys and
wildlife research. Make yourself known to the ranger
during your time here and support the work they do
by following the guidelines they give. If you have any
questions they will be happy to talk with you.
Cod can be caught from the rocks around the
campground, but please do not fish at the fossilised
forest area as this poses a risk to the yellow-eyed
Be aware that waves on this coast can be dangerous
as they are very powerful and unpredictable.
Being a volunteer ranger is a unique opportunity to
experience the bay while helping to play a vital role in
conservation. Talk to the ranger if you would like more
information or an application form for the position.
Fossilised forest
Humane kill traps have
been developed specifically
for these introduced
predators. The traps are
baited with either rabbit
meat or a hen’s egg and are
checked daily.
Please do not move or
tamper with traps as they
are specifically located to
achieve maximum results.
There is a safe sample trap
for you to have a look at
beside the viewing platform
at the fossilised forest.
Volunteers have to constantly
help protect our defenceless
endangered birds from
predators such as stoats,
weasels, ferrets and cats,
which are vicious and
indiscriminate killers.
Predator trapping
it w
the trap in whi
Approximately 100 metres down the road from the
campground entrance is the car park and viewing
platform for the fossilised forest.
During low tide you can wander around the fossils
but please keep an eye on children as the sea can be
dangerous and the rocks extremely slippery.
In order to protect the fossilised forest for future
generations, it is illegal to take souvenirs.
Further information
To learn more about Curio Bay, its wildlife and the
marine mammal sanctuary please:
• read the information panels
• talk to the volunteer ranger and campground staff
• contact the Department of Conservation office in
Invercargill, phone 03 211 2400 or email
[email protected]
Cover: Sea lions. Photo: Mark Oster.
Background – Curio Bay.
All photos, unless otherwise credited, are copyright DOC.
Published by:
Department of Conservation
Murihiku/Invercargill Office
PO Box 743, Invercargill 9840
New Zealand
June 2014
Editing and design:
Publishing Team, DOC National Office
This publication is produced using
paper sourced from well-managed,
renewable and legally logged forests.
Curio Bay and
its wildlife
Welcome to beautiful Curio Bay
Yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho
Hector’s dolphin/upokohue
Rare yellow-eyed penguins/hoiho and their chicks can
often be seen in or near the fossilised forest during the
summer. While you are more likely to view penguins in the
early morning or evening, their routines do vary throughout
the season.
New Zealand sea lion/whakahao
If you keep at least 10 metres away from them and never
block their path, they will often spend hours relaxing and
socialising, in full view, after a long day at sea.
Hector’s dolphins are one of the smallest and rarest
dolphins in the world. If you look carefully at the sea in
front of the camp shop, you will often see them playing
in the surf or further out in the bay. Look for their
distinctive dark, rounded dorsal fin that looks like a
Mickey Mouse ear.
During your visit you may encounter endangered
and protected New Zealand birdlife and marine
mammals. This pamphlet gives you a few practical
tips to make those encounters safe, ensuring the
best possible experience for both you and the
wildlife found here.
New Zealand sea lions/whakahao often make themselves
at home on the beach or at the campground. They can
be found playing, sleeping or wandering around during
the day or night. Always be aware that you share this
campground with them.
Sea lions are naturally curious, but they do not like to
be disturbed or crowded. You should always keep at
least 10 metres away from them, even if they are sleeping.
If you get too close they may warn you off with a roar
and a short charge. If this happens do not try to chase
them away as they may take this as a threat. Simply move
quietly away and they will soon relax.
Sea lions are not pets! Never feed them and do not leave
food or rubbish around your campsite.
If you encounter sea lions in the
water, do not interact with them as
they may think you want to play
and their play can be boisterous.
Just get out of the water calmly.
Sea lions often wander
onto the roads so take
care as you drive around
the campground.
Please drive slowly
and give them the
right of way.
Photo: Ros Cole
At times a ranger may restrict access around the penguins.
Please follow their instructions, as they do this so that you
can get the best possible viewing experience with the least
possible stress to the penguins.
Yellow-eyed penguins like to keep their nests secret. Please
do not venture into the vegetation where they nest. You
may scare them away from the bay forever, and you also run
the real risk of injury by disturbing sea lions resting there.
Every yellow-eyed penguin colony is unique and you may
find different viewing requirements in other areas. This
colony doesn’t seem to mind the presence of people too
much. Help us keep it that way by encouraging everyone to
respect the penguins and give them space.
You are welcome to take photographs but please limit the
use of flashes as they have very sensitive eyes.
10 metres
•Keep at least 10 metres
between you and any
•Dogs are not allowed in the campground or
fossilised forest area
•It is an offence to disturb
or harass any native
Photo: Sam O'Leary
Porpoise Bay is used as a nursery area by a pod of up to
20 Hector’s dolphins, so you may also see young calves.
The pod moves up and down the bay throughout the day
so there is no best viewing time.
This bay is one of the only places Hector’s dolphins
come so close to shore without being enticed. If you
are swimming and dolphins are present, please enter
the water at least 50 metres away from them. Should
they approach you then you are in for a wonderful
experience. Just relax and let them interact with you if
they want to. Do not go towards or try to attract them
in any way, as this will usually discourage them from
staying around. Any interaction must be on their terms.
Do not touch the dolphins as your hands often carry
bugs that can cause them harm.
Māori names for Hector’s dolphins include
tutumairekurai, upokohue, tūpoupou, aihe, papakanua,
tukuperu, pahu, pōpoto and hopuhopu.