This morning we lost one of the greatest seabird scientists, conservationists and petrel heads of the Southern Hemisphere and the Tawaki Trust’s founding trustee– Kerry-Jayne Wilson.
What Kerry-Jayne achieved in her lifetime to protect all kinds of seabird species is tremendous – and if you haven’t heard about these achievements, it’s just a sign of how successful she was.
Generally, those conservation projects receive greatest recognition that keep critically endangered species on life support, often with no real perspective for a recovery. Kerry-Jayne’s work, however, focussed on ensuring that species did not even slip into this state of utter dependency of human intervention. Her invention of the fabled burrow flaps – a semi-clandestine operation past NZ notoriously broken permitting system – helped to restore the Chatham petrel from a critically endangered status in the early 2000s to a hugely improved vulnerable status with increasing population trends. She managed to inspire West Coast communities to care for their Westland Petrels and was one of the main instigators within the West Coast Penguin Trust to build miles and miles of penguin fence along sections of highway that were a death trap for countless little penguins.
Kerry-Jayne also was an integral part of the Tawaki Project, both in her support to get the work done but also in the field. Without her, there would be no Tawaki Trust either.
Thomas has posted a tribute over on the Tawaki Project website: https://www.tawaki-project.org/2022/03/