Libby Hall and Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, Commander Paul Gall, releasing penguins off Fairlight Beach
Little Penguin release at Fairlight Beach
Little Penguins from the famous Manly colony were released back into
the wild today after being looked after at the Taronga Wildlife
Hospital while they underwent their yearly moult.
One penguin, named Bernie, was found at Dee Why Point in December
weighing just 500 grams, half the normal body weight for a Little
Penguin. After spending quite a while in the intensive care, she finally
put on enough weight to go into her yearly moult. She now has a brand
new set of feathers, weighs a kilogram and is ready to rejoin her
The second bird was found by penguin wardens at Forty
Baskets Beach in February. She was seen by wardens swimming in the water
despite being in moult, so it’s suspected she was chased into the
water. They were unable to help her at the time as there were sharks
feeding nearby. They next day they found her exhausted on the rocks. She
was taken to the Wildlife Hospital where she successfully finished
Taronga Wildlife Hospital Manager, Libby Hall, said: “Little Penguins
moult once a year as new feathers are vital to keep them waterproof.
Most moult between February and April. They are unable to swim while
they lose the old feathers, so they’re very vulnerable during this time
“Once they were brought here and fed, their moults went very smoothly. We’re very happy to be able to return them to the wild.”
“The endangered colony of Little Penguins at Manly is tiny. Every Little Penguin in this colony is very important,” said Libby.
The penguins were released by Libby and Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, Commander Paul Gall, off Fairlight Beach.
The Royal Australian Navy are a major user of the harbour so this was
a great opportunity to highlight the threatened Manly Little Penguin
colony. The Navy’s support of Office of Environment and Heritage means
that their boats can be readily and reliably utilised for future
wildlife rescues or releases, adding to the invaluable support provided
by NSW Water Police.
Every year Taronga takes part in Project Penguin. Local school
students learn about the local Manly Little Penguins, ultimately
becoming youth ambassadors for the locally threatened species.
The Penguin Camera is located on Torgersen Island (64°46’S, 64°04’W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This camera is seasonal and operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The camera is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief outages due to inclement weather. School classrooms and other educational demonstrations will often take control of the camera, moving it to gain better views of the colony.