Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Man Arrested and Charged in the Bullying of Penguin Guardians

Manly penguin wardens quit

Penguin activist Angelica Treichler and other wardens at spot of the dog attack on New Year's Day at Manly Cove.


TWO volunteer penguin wardens have quit their posts in recent weeks over fears for their safety while protecting Manly’s endangered penguin colony from harm.
Johnyth Burton, 72, resigned from her position last week following an incident on New Year’s Day, when she was allegedly assaulted by 28-year-old James Oatley after Mrs Burton stepped in to protect a penguin from an off-leash dog at Manly Cove.
It is alleged the dog jumped free from a boat carrying Mr Oatley and a group of friends as they came to shore near Manly Wharf.
The incident follows the deaths of seven little penguins last month at nearby Federation Point in an apparent dog attack.
Penguin warden co-ordinator Angelika Treichler yesterday told The Manly Daily a second warden had now resigned from their role guarding the endangered animals.
“They are just scared,” she said.
Ms Treichler said while the wardens enjoyed excellent support from local police, they desperately needed more council rangers to back up their nightly patrols.
“We do not get enough protection ... I would like two extra night rangers, who are not busy with drunks, to be there for the protection of people and animals,” she said.
Manly Council general manager Henry Wong said the council would do “whatever it takes” to protect the penguin colony.
“But agreement and co-operation between all the agencies involved is required,” he said.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is continuing its investigations into last month’s attack, although they have been unable to further identify the dog involved after inconclusive DNA tests.
“(We) will continue to liaise with Manly Council about possible increased protection for the little penguin population,” a NPWS spokeswoman said.
“The most valuable protection however can come from dog owners by following regulations and keeping their pets leashed and out of dog-free areas as directed.”

Push and a shove floors a guardian of penguins
Geesche Jacobsen CRIME EDITOR
January 3, 2011
Angelika Treichler near Manly Wharf. Only trying to help ... Angelika Treichler near Manly Wharf, where she protects the remaining penguin colony. Photo: Steven Siewert
A GRANDSON of the Wild Oats XI owner Bob Oatley has been charged after an alleged assault on an elderly penguin warden who was trying to prevent a dog attack at Manly Cove on Saturday night - only weeks after seven penguins were killed by a dog in the area.
James Oatley, 27, of Mosman, was allegedly among a group of people on a boat that was pulling into the beach about 9pm. It is alleged he jumped off the boat and was followed by a large, short-haired dog believed to belong to the boat's skipper.
As soon as the dog was on the beach it started running towards a female penguin that was making its way to its mate, which was nesting further up the beach.

Police penguin.
Police arrest a man over an alleged attack on Saturday night. Photo: Alana Fisher
Angelika Treichler was guarding the penguin with a fellow penguin warden, Johnyth Burton. ''I put myself between the penguin and the dog,'' she said. ''I was running up and down the beach and the dog was trying to get past me.''
The dog seemed to think it was a game, said one of about 100 people who were watching the scene. ''The dog thought everyone was playing because the ladies where chasing it,'' said a local resident who did not want to be identified.
The wardens said they asked Mr Oatley and the dog's owner to put the dog on a leash, explaining they might be fined for letting their dog run on the beach.

Fairy Penguins.
Fairy Penguins. Photo: Rick Stevens
Once the dog had been controlled, Mrs Burton went to talk to Mr Oatley and both wardens started taking photographs of the men and the scene.
It is alleged that Mr Oatley became aggressive, initially splashing water on to Mrs Burton, 72, to prevent her taking photos, then pushing her so she fell backwards on to the sand.
Onlookers came to her aid and she was badly shaken and resting in bed last night but did not have any serious injuries.
Ms Treichler said there were only five pairs of penguins left in the area and they had kept a low profile since seven of them were killed in a dog attack last month.
In mid-December Manly Council voted to establish tighter controls and improve the fencing to protect the endangered colony.
The council called on the Environment Department to declare the area a ''critical habitat'' and called for a ''zero-tolerance'' approach for infringements.
''We lose penguins all the time - that's why they are not increasing,'' Ms Treichler said. ''In the '50s we had hundreds of penguins. For [some] human beings their lifestyle seems to be more important than the penguins.''
Police arrived moments after the alleged assault. They arrested the man and breath-tested the boat's skipper.
Mr Oatley has been charged with common assault and is due to appear in Manly Local Court on January 27. The boat's owner, 27, of Manly, has been charged with drink-driving while in charge of a boat.
The Oatley family endured a protest hearing before Wild Oats XI was confirmed as the winner of the Sydney to Hobart for the fifth time in six years. A claim that the yacht had improperly used a radio during the race was dismissed.


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