Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Marine Pde fence to protect penguins


timaru penguin count
SIGN OF THE TIMES: George Iles, left, and Paul Hutcheson have set up a sign on Marine Parade to inform the public about little blue penguins, which have set up home in the area. A contractor has been appointed to build a fence along Timaru's Marine Pde to help protect penguins nesting there.

Timaru District Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the fence would run from the seaward side of the beach volleyball area to the low tide mark on the Marine Pde footpath edge. The fence will cost about $2000 and building will start within the next month, Steans said. "We will also be planting more vegetation along the edge of the beach along the parade to protect the penguins when they are nesting."

Dogs can exercise at the beach until the end of the month under the current bylaws, he said. "By putting up a fence, we are hoping dogs will not enter. It will not be a solid barrier because we want the penguins to be able to get through. But it should serve as a deterrent to dogs." There are signs around the bay area warning people not to use flash photography around the penguins.

At a meeting held in Timaru on Monday night, Penguin Support Group members discussed penguin breeding over the summer months. Peter Bennett said they talked about three key areas; barriers, road signage and brochures. "The group is focused on giving people a chance to see the birds at no charge," he said. "The Marine Pde location is the ideal area to safely observe the penguins, with signage and minimal barriers to educate people to give them space."


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