New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1998) 22(1): 65-70 ©New Zealand Ecological Society However, if buffer zones do not reduce lagomorph abundance and consequently chick predation, there is a danger from relaxation of conventional predator control measures which could potentially increase rates of predation on chicks. In addition, increased predation on chicks may result if buffer zones actually increase lagomorph abundance. Alternatively, the presence of more lagomorphs within the buffer zones may reduce predation of chicks by providing predators with other prey. Hitherto, vegetation buffer zones have been widely adopted to reduce predation on yellow-eyed penguin chicks with no assessment of their impact. This study tests the hypothesis that lagomorph abundance is reduced in and around ungrazed penguin breeding sites.