Tim BarlassSeptember 25, 2011
Shelter ... father-to-be Mr Stickybeak, bearing scars from a propeller injury, is believed to be the last remaining male fairy penguin at Manly Cove West.NATIVE wildlife lovers are praying this picture doesn't show the last march of the famous fairy penguins from Manly boardwalk.
Dogs and boats have taken such a toll that penguin guardians say only one pair remains from the feathered community that moved into Manly Cove West more than 20 years ago.
But they do have a nest of eggs.
Advertisement: Story continues belowThe soon-to-be father fairy, known as Mr Stickybeak, is lucky to be alive, having sustained a propeller injury to his back. His then partner was killed by the boat.
A vet at Taronga Zoo stitched his wound but the scar is visible.
Mr Stickybeak, who was christened by penguin protector Angelika Treichler, has since partnered a female who was also taken to Taronga after losing her partner.
The penguins usually mate for life.
''This could easily be their last year,'' Ms Treichler said. ''There isn't much in life now that you don't have to pay for but the penguins are an example of that. Sadly, human beings are doing a very good job of trying to destroy their habitat.''
A dog killed seven penguins at adjacent Federation Point last year, and none of their offspring have returned to that spot this season.
Conservationists tried to get dogs banned from the area but a lobby by dog walkers meant they could still use the area with leashes. But dogs are frequently seen unleashed on the beaches, especially at night, despite Manly council issuing 60 infringement notices.
The penalty for having an uncontrolled dog in a public place is $220.
Three weeks ago another penguin was killed by a dog and two more were lost to propellers.
The beach penguins are believed to be among some 60 pairs in the wider Manly area, the only mainland population in NSW.