Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Penguins set up home already

Timaru's resident little blue penguins are nesting, giving hope their numbers will increase significantly in the coming months.

The penguins have returned to the rocks alongside Marine Pde to lay their eggs for the new season.
Department of Conservation community relations ranger George Iles said he was unsure how many penguins there were now, or how many eggs had been laid.

However, if the chicks survived, the local population had the potential to double annually, he said.
Timaru's first formal count of the breed was held in December last year, when up to 50 were spotted living under the rocks.

After reading about the little blue penguins in the Herald, Timaru resident Stuart Croft decided to build nesting boxes with the help of Bluestone School pupils.

Those pupils built eight boxes and were keen to continue that project, Mr Iles said.

The Timaru Yacht and Power Boat Club had also agreed to work with DOC. A grassed area of the club's grounds had been identified as perfect for the penguins. It would be planted out with native trees in the near future. Once landscaping was completed, the penguin boxes would be relocated to the area.

"The penguins can then nest safely in their compounds," Mr Iles said.
That project would happen in spring, in preparation for the next breeding season.
"You can put the boxes within two metres of each other so we should be able to get in quite a few."


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