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PSA - Penguin Service Announcement!

Little Penguins/Kororā Conservation Status: At Risk - Population Declining


Little penguins/kororā have to protect themselves from predators in the wild such as seals, sharks, and other large birds. Did you know they also have to protect themselves from us?

Many kororā that are brought to the National Aquarium of New Zealand to live at Penguin Cove have been injured or became sick because of the actions of people. Here are some examples:

  • Burny: Burnt soles of her feet from a fire on the beach not being extinguished
  • Betty: Lack of food causing malnutrition (having to travel further out to sea for food due to higher sea temperatures pushing smaller fish out to find cooler water)
  • Draco: Head injury from being hit by a car crossing the road
  • Flip: Lost her left flipper after being tangled in fishing line
  • Timmy: Has a spinal injury from being hit by a boat

Other little penguins at the Aquarium have also been abandoned as chicks such as Mo, Dora and Mr Mac. There could be many reasons for this. However issues such as loud noises, caused by all manner of things, can make penguin parents leave their habitat and abandon their chicks. Penguins are also having to travel further out to sea for their food due to higher sea temperatures which push the smaller fish further out to sea to find cooler water.

Martin and Marina came to the Aquarium following a predator attack. We suspect from the injuries sustained that these could have come from a dog or cat.

How you can be a Penguin Protector!

  • Leave penguins to go about their daily business. Do not disturb them.
  • If a penguin looks ‘scruffy’, this can be due to moulting, so best to give them some space.
  • Always have your dog on a leash when walking in coastal areas
  • Keep your dog away from nests, and warn others nearby of where penguins are nesting
  • Use available access ways to get to the beach
  • Clean up after you – don’t leave old fishing lines on beaches

Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) immediately if you see an injured penguin, or anyone catching, harming, or killing our native wildlife. We work closely with the DOC team and they’ll call on us to assist with rehabilitation where necessary.

The National Aquarium of New Zealand’s Animal Team are a passionate group of wildlife and conservation professionals. They are dedicated to ensuring that the kōrora living permanently at the Aquarium experience an environment that is as close to their natural habitat as possible. The kōrora at Penguin Cove have lots of space to waddle across their own private beach and then dart through the water as they go about their penguin business.

24 September 2021

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