Protecting Penguins: A Pint-Sized Penguin
Standing as tall as a school ruler and weighing about the same as a bottle of milk is the worlds’ smallest penguin, the Little Penguin or Eudyptula minor, more commonly known as Korora in New Zealand and Fairy penguin in Australia. In New Zealand we recognise four variants – the Northern, Southern, White-flippered and Chatham Island little penguin. The northern occurs in the North and top of the South Islands, the Southern is shared with Australia and the White-flippered is found only on Banks Peninsula near Christchurch. They are the one species of penguin that live among human activity despite all the associated threats and dangers. You will find them along the city shores in Wellington, and on urban beaches and rocky coasts in Christchurch and Auckland. They are prone to being run over by cars and boats, predated by dogs and cats and caught in fishing nets. Fortunately, many communities around New Zealand are helping to protect little penguins by controlling pests, revegetation projects, constructing fences along foreshore roads and making nesting boxes. Advocacy is all important, with volunteers helping to spread awareness about dog management and providing information to, and protection from, inquisitive tourists. In Wellington a group called Places for Penguins monitors penguin boxes, provides pest control and revegetation programmes to help protect their city dwelling penguins.
Consider the littlest penguin when you are next visiting a New Zealand beach and how nice it would be for them to come ashore to a safe nesting place. You can help achieve this by donating to Birdlife’s Penguin Campaign.