Tuesday, September 13, 2016

‘Disappointed’ firm speaks out about claims of endangerment of Sydney’s penguin colony at Manly

Fairy Penguins, and chick at North Head. Picture: Braden Fastier.
Fairy Penguins, and chick at North Head. Picture: Braden Fastier.
A HOTEL firm accused of endangering North Head’s protected little penguins said the claims were untrue, as environment bosses confirmed the creatures had not been harmed.
Mawland Group, which runs the Q Station restaurant and Hotel at the former quarantine station at North Head, was criticised for reportedly clearing foliage in the habitat, the only mainland breeding colony in Australia. The allegations were made by the State Opposition.
Q station buildings in Sydney Harbour National Park, North Head.
Labor environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said, it’s “still in dispute whether there were penguins there at the time.”
Mawland Group director Suzanne Stanton said it did clear some land – but it was not in what the company ­believed to be the protected space.
The company had now worked with the national park to revegetate it.
Boilerhouse Harbourside Restaurant at Q station in Sydney Harbour National Park, North Head has answered the claims.
“We are so disappointed about these claims,” Mrs Stanton said.
“We say it is untrue. We care deeply about the penguins.
“There was some clipping of noxious weeds but it certainly was not within what we understood was critical habitat.”
However, Mrs Sharpe , claims it was within the habitat.
The view from a balcony at the Q Station.
An Office of Environment Heritage spokesman confirmed the penguins were not affected.
“OEH found the clearing of mostly weeds did not ­affect the little penguins in the vicinity of area at the time of the clearing,” he said.
“OEH has instructed the lessee not to undertake any work or maintenance of any kind in the area or surrounds without written permission.”
A screen shot of the fox that killed 26 little penguins at North Head Pic credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Little creatures
The little penguins’ breeding season runs from June to February
In 1990 there were just 35 little penguins nesting in the national park at North Head, which is the only mainland colony in NSW
Since then, the number had increased to around 140 birds
Last year a fox stalked and killed 27 penguins.


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