Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dogs put on tighter leash for penguins' sake

TOUGHER restrictions on dog-owners exercising their pets near the nesting areas of Manly’s endangered little penguin colony have been introduced in the hope they will prevent more attacks.
Manly Council voted unanimously on Monday night to establish tighter controls following the deaths of seven little penguins at Federation Point in a dog attack 12 days ago.
Cr Cathy Griffin called for more consistent regulation of dog “on-leash” areas across Manly promenades - including Federation Point - with a “zero-tolerance” approach for any infringements.
The council also voted to upgrade fencing on the Manly Cove boardwalk to better protect the penguins and ban dogs from the entire Federation Steps area.
It called on the Environment Department to declare Federation Point a “critical habitat” zone, which would offer the animals greater protection than the council-designated “wildlife protection zone” operating there.
Manly State Liberal MP Mike Baird echoed the request in a recent letter to Environment Minister Frank Sartor.
“The little penguins are a treasured part of the local community and the volunteer wardens do an outstanding job providing protection,” he said.
“However, their efforts deserve to be supported by every possible measure available to both state and local governments.”
A spokesman for the minister said the department would explore options for better protecting the penguins’ nesting sites.
“This will include working with Manly Council, wildlife experts and the community to investigate reviewing or amending the critical habitat zones to include Federation Point,” he said.
A National Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said the department was waiting for DNA test results from the penguins’ wounds to determine the breed of dog responsible for the attack.


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