Wednesday, October 21, 2015

People urged to do their bit to protect the little blue penguins

It's suspected this little blue penguin was attacked by a dog.
Manouchehr Kia

It's suspected this little blue penguin was attacked by a dog.
Dog owners are urged to keep their pets on the leash after a little blue penguin was mauled.

About two weeks ago the penguin was found with severe damage to it's head, injuries it's suspected were caused by being bitten across the head by a dog.

Dave Chadfield, of Chaddy's Charters said Port Taranaki brought the penguin to him. "We've been looking after injured penguins here for 25 years," he said."The first thing I did was give it rest because rest is important. The problem was when I put him in the water to see if he could cope, he kept going in circles.

"We kept an eye on him and he wasn't going to make it."

At that point Jill White from the White Sail Gallery took the injured bird to the vet and it was soon sent to Massey University in Palmerston North to recover.

"They took its eye out," she said. "They're going to decide whether it gets put down or not because they're not sure if it's blind in both eyes and it was stressed."

Chadfield explains many of the injured penguins come from the Back Beach area where dogs are allowed to run without leashes.

He's seen people throw kittens out of cars as they go past too, which contributes to the penguin's predator list.

"At night time one of the worst things we hear is the cats," he said. "I get up and shoo the cats away."
Little blue penguins are currently in egg and chick season. "It's going to be a really good year because the saury, which is what they feed on, is in the harbour early this year.

"It means the penguins are going to be a lot stronger and healthier."

There are currently 15 penguin nesting houses in the area near Chaddy's Charters. These are digitally monitored by Nga Motu Marine Reserve Society and Bright Sparks.

At one stage there was a camera operating in the houses so people could see the penguins without disturbing them.

"It was quite neat because we could monitor the predators." Soon, it's hoped there'll be another camera.

Businesses in the area, including Manous Waterfront Cafe and Restaurant, keep an eye on the penguins too.


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