Penguin orphans released into wild
Sat, 02 Mar 2013
It's the first time the chicks have ever set a flipper in the ocean
Eight orphaned yellow-eyed penguin chicks have been released back into the wild. They were rescued from Dunedin’s coastline after their parents were killed by what's thought to be a bio-toxin.
3 News was there as the chicks had their hesitant experience of entering the ocean. It's the first time the chicks have ever set a flipper in the ocean. “They know how to swim, but it's the volume that's a bit scary and there are a lot of waves out there,” says Penguin Place manager Lisa King.But the importance of the yellow-eyed penguin chicks taking on the deep blue is literally a matter of life or death.“They've got to learn how to fish, and that's their biggest challenge in the next few days,” says Ms King. “And if they don't work it out quick enough, they'll come ashore and starve to death.”
But they get there in the end, despite a good thrashing from the incoming swell. “Second chance for them – their parents have died,” says Ms King. “If they had been left where they were they would have died.”They've come a long way thanks to the Department of Conservation. The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the team at Penguin Place admit the endangered species won't be tamed.“They know what to do when you hold them to feed them, and then they'll bite you on the way when they leave,” says Ms King.
They were rescued more than a kilogram underweight after the unexplained deaths of 60 adult yellow-eyed penguins on Dunedin’s coast.Further toxin testing is continuing after initial testing on the dead adult penguins hasn't give any results. But DOC still suspect the cause is a bio-toxin.
“It’s a very long haul for them,” says Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray. “This is the first time they've been out to sea. They've got to learn to feed, to swim, to compete with predators in the sea. Basically they've been thrown in the deep end.”
It is a deep end it's hoped the chicks will return from, and go on to increase the yellow-eyed penguin population.
See Video HERE
See Video HERE