Veteran Kiwi penguin researcher gets mountain crest named after him

A Christchurch penguin researcher, who spent 26 seasons studying a remote Adelie colony in Antarctica, has had part of a mountain named in his honour.

Brian Karl came out of retirement this summer to help with the breeding season at Cape Bird.

It's hard work catching a chick, measuring the wingspan and taking the weight, but he's been doing it for three decades.

"I keep coming back because it's not only an amazing place, but these penguins are an amazing bird to work with," he told Newshub.

Mr Karl first came to Cape Bird in 1987 to study the 30,000 Adelie breeding pairs along the beach. He's now spent 26 seasons here, and no one knows these birds better than him.

"His contribution to the research has been enormous," says Dean Anderson, from Landcare Research. "His understanding of the ecology and behaviour of the birds has guided research for years."

He tried to retire two years ago, but that was short-lived - he was back again this summer getting up close and personal with his beloved penguins. A curious adult even interrupted Newshub's interview, and refused to take no for an answer.

"They can get a little bit friendly and over-friendly at times," he says.

With this season potentially his last, his colleagues wanted to find a way to ensure his legacy isn't forgotten. They successfully lobbied to name a nearby crest in his honour.

Fittingly, Karl Crest looks down onto the colony.

"I feel quite humbled by it," says its namesake. "I guess I always will be here."

While Mr Karl may never return to Cape Bird, he will always be a part of the landscape.