13th Dec 2010
A little blue penguin on Mauao. Picture by Pete Huggins.
Department of Conservation biodiversity programme manager Chris Clark says the arrival of the penguins in the area is just part of an annual cycle of nature.
He says there have been several reports of sick penguins on local beaches over recent weeks.
“This time of year is always challenging for the local penguin population,” says Chris.
“High juvenile mortality is unfortunate, but natural for little blue penguins, particularly at this time of year.
“Often penguins simply need to rest, especially after a storm; but many are unable to fend for themselves and die naturally of exhaustion or starvation.
“These birds may be found dead, or dying, on local beaches which can be very distressing for people.”
DOC’s tips for what to do if you find a penguin:
You are strongly advised to leave penguins where you find them. They can carry nasty bacteria, and people should keep well away.
If you find a penguin on the beach alive, the best thing to do is to move it up the beach into the long grass or under a bush where it is able to rest, away from predators and the public.
You should carry the penguin using an old towel, rag or some other barrier. Avoid any direct physical contact with it. After use throw away the old towel or rag, and wash your hands and arms thoroughly with soapy water to avoid any bacterial contamination.