Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Penguin killed in Manly, eggs destroyed

Penguin killed, eggs destroyed
Stickybeak, the male little penguin who lives at Manly Wharf. Credit: David Jenkins Source: Supplied
AN investigation is under way after a Little Penguin was killed and two eggs in a nest were smashed. The National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman said it was devastated by the loss of the penguin, which was killed by a small to medium sized dog.

Even more disturbing is the destruction of two eggs that were in a nesting box under Manly Wharf. Penguin warden Angelika Treichler said it looked like someone had broken through a plastic barrier protecting the nest, grabbed the eggs and smashed them. "One of them had an embryo in it," Ms Treichler said. She said four penguins known to inhabit the area had since disappeared. "The penguins have left early after the eggs were smashed, we haven't seen any penguins for two weeks now," she said.

Only 60 nesting pairs of Little Penguins remain within Sydney Harbour National Park.
Only 60 nesting pairs of Little Penguins remain within Sydney Harbour National Park. Source: News Limited
During the holidays and on weekends the penguins regularly attract hundreds of people to the wharf who are eager to catch sight of them coming out of the water at sunset. "The tourists have been terribly disappointed at not seeing penguins in the wild," Ms Treichler said.

She said penguins would usually be seen up until the end of February when the current breeding season ended. The next season does not begin until May/June. Ms Treichler said the wardens had also been saddened by the death of the adult female penguin shortly after the eggs were destroyed.

The National Parks spokesman said necropsy of the Little Penguin confirmed it was killed by a small to medium dog. He said there were only 60 nesting pairs remaining within Sydney Harbour National Park. "Every loss within the tiny population has an impact," he said. He confirmed there was "suspected interference" with the nesting box and an investigation was underway. He called on anyone who might have information to call 131 555.

Harming the birds can result in penalties as high as $220,000 in fines and/or six months in prison.


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