Saturday, December 11, 2010

Large dog in penguin 'massacre'

AUTOPSIES completed following the deaths of seven little penguins at Federation Point over the weekend have confirmed the animals were killed as a result of a dog attack.

A spokeswoman for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) confirmed yesterday that all seven penguins - three breeding pairs and one chick - were mauled by a dog of “medium to large build”.

The dead penguins were found in several locations around Federation Point and the western end of Manly Cove on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of last week.

The spokeswoman said NPWS staff had canvassed people in the immediate region on Monday, and they now planned to review any available CCTV footage of the area.

She said the NPWS would also have the penguins analysed for saliva to determine the breed of dog involved in the attack, and liaise with Manly Council for further information about dogs registered in the vicinity.

Federation Point is a designated Wildlife Protection Zone, with the council banning dogs from the foreshore and requiring that dogs elsewhere in the area are leashed at all times.

But Fairlight Precinct Committee chairman Richard Hewitt said he estimated as many as 50 per cent of dogs being exercised in the area were allowed to run off their leashes.

“The council signage is not perfect, but it’s not invisible,” he said. “Some of the people there with their dogs even get angry when they are made aware of the signs by residents.”

Penguin warden co-ordinator Angelika Treichler said the latest attack on the penguin colony had been “shattering” for the 30 volunteers who helped protect the birds.

The NPWS is appealing for any members of the public with information about the attack to call 131 555.


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