Friday 14th July, 2017
Thursday 13th July, 2017
The killing of two nesting penguins has devastated the people who tried to keep them safe.
The bloodied bodies of the little blue penguins, a protected species, were found on Sunday near the nesting box volunteers had made for them on the coastline of Whitireia Park, Porirua.
Robyn Smith, a member of the park's restoration group said, despite the boxes being in an on-leash dog walking area, it appeared a dog had knocked the lid off the box and mauled the birds, breaking their necks.
The birds were the first to take up residence in one of the 10 boxes built in 2012, an "absolutely gutted" Smith said.
"We were extremely excited one of our boxes were finally being used. We had given up hope that they would ever home any penguins."
The birds bred successfully on nearby Mana Island and volunteers wanted to provide a safe place on the mainland.
"We naively thought the little blues would be safe in the park in their boxes."
Department of Conservation operations manager Jack Mace said the penguins' deaths followed at least two other recent attacks around Wellington Harbour.
"The greatest tragedy of these deaths is that the penguins had only just moved into the nest boxes."
Dogs were the greatest threat to the penguins species - the world's smallest - whose population is classified as 'At Risk, Declining' by DOC, Mace said.
"There are only 5,000 – 20,000 mature individuals nationally, and their numbers are predicted to be declining at a rate of 10-30 per cent."
Dog owners were required by law to ensure their dogs does not injure or cause distress to wildlife and other animals, he said.
"Even the most loving and well-trained dog is capable of killing a kororā [Little Blue Penguin] in seconds. Dog owners need to be vigilant so we can safely share our cities with native wildlife.
Wellington Bird Rehabilitation Trust operator Craig Shepherd said penguins, and any flightless bird, were at risk from dogs.
"They're the proverbial sitting ducks and if it was a dog that killed them it will be killing others."
Greater Wellington Regional Council parks manager Amanda Cox said the park had signs reminding people to keep dogs under control.
"Given what has happened we are actively considering more signage – not just to alert dog owners to the potential presence of penguins, but also to build broader awareness so that visitors can both appreciate them and leave them undisturbed."
Thursday 6th July, 2017
The annual yellow-eyed penguin symposium is coming up and registrations are now open.
The afternoon session will allow for longer presentations on relevant issues.
Morning tea and lunch will be provided as in previous years. Registration is staying at $30 per person.