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March 2011

26 March 2011
Fate of island penguins appears sealed as hunted become hunters
If Simone Somerfield had her way, she would teach the little penguins that come to nest at her Penneshaw Penguin Centre on Kangaroo Island not to swim. It is the only way she can think of stopping what she says is the wholesale slaughter of her flock by an exploding population of New Zealand fur seals on Kangaroo Island, south of Adelaide. Numbers of little penguins at Ms Somerfield's Penneshaw centre have collapsed from 200 birds three years ago to less than half a dozen today.
Read The Australian article

25 March 2011
UK penguins in rehab after devastating oil spill
(Tristan da Cunha)
Almost 500 oil-soaked rockhopper penguins in the South Atlantic have now been put into 'rehab' by Tristan Islanders facing a race against the clock to help save the endangered species. But those assessing the impact of the disaster believe more than 10,000 birds could have been affected. The grounded cargo vessel MS Oliva crashed into Nightingale island - part of the Tristan da Cunha UK overseas territory - on 16 March, and local conservationists and volunteers have been working tirelessly ever since to help the threatened birds.
Read RSPB press release

24 March 2011
The Office Zoo patient declared seaworthy
(New Zealand)
After two months of rest and fattening up at Wellington Zoo, a little penguin has been released back into the ocean. The penguin was one of two starving, malnourished fledglings taken into the zoo in late January - the other bird died soon after. Restored to full health, the chick was released by zoo staff at Moa Point and disappeared into the sea.
Read The Dominion Post article at

21 March 2011
UK penguins in peril as grounded ship threatens twin environmental disaster
(Tristan da Cunha)
A grounded cargo vessel has been wrecked on Nightingale Island – part of the Tristan da Cunha UK overseas territory in the South Atlantic – and an oil spill now threatens wildlife, including nearly half of the world's population of northern rockhopper penguins, which are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Read RSPB press release

Penguins hatch a record chick count
Under the watchful eye of their canine protectors, the little penguins on Warrnambool's Middle Island in Victoria have had another record-breaking breeding season. Recent counts show the island is providing a secure breeding habitat for about 180 adult penguins - more than triple the population of 51 penguins recorded in 2008.
Read The Warrnambool Standard article

20 March 2011
Fears for penguins being pinched from Granite Island
The unthinkable is happening at Victor Harbor, South Australia, where vandals are regularly climbing security fences at Granite Island to steal little penguins from the already dwindling population. The number of penguins on the island has dropped from more than 1500 birds 10 years ago to just 146 birds counted in last August's census. Granite Island Penguin Centre co-ordinator Dorothy Longden wants the causeway to the island closed off at night to stop vandals from stealing penguins and ruining their habitat.
Read Sunday Mail article at Adelaide Now

12 March 2011
Better after hospital stay
(New Zealand)
After a tough start to life, six yellow-eyed penguins will head back to the wild today. Glen Riley of Penguin Place said the birds had put on more than 2kg and now weighed up to 5.5kg, a safe weight for them to be released in the Catlins. The 4-month-old penguins have spent nearly a month at the Otago Peninsula penguin hospital, after an initial fortnight with Department of Conservation Owaka ranger Cheryl Pullar.
Read Otago Daily Times article

10 March 2011
First recorded loss of an emperor penguin colony
Scientists at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have recently described the loss of a small colony of emperor penguins on an island off the West Antarctic Peninsula. The loss is attributed to reduced sea ice, which provides an important nesting substrate for the penguins as well as an important foraging habitat. Reporting in the February edition of the scientific journal PLoS ONE, researchers from BAS and Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) say that this is the first time the disappearance of an emperor penguin colony has been documented.
Read BAS article

8 March 2011
"Penguin-cam" reveals secrets of life below the ice
The secret life of Adelie penguins is not quite so secret anymore, thanks to scientists from the National Institute of Polar Research, Japan, who attached video cameras to the backs of birds for a rare active glimpse of life as a penguin sees it.
Read Reuters article

5 March 2011
Breeding season very positive: DOC
(New Zealand)
While avian diphtheria hit some Otago Peninsula populations of yellow-eyed penguins hard, overall the breeding season on Otago's coast has been very positive, the Department of Conservation says.
Read Otago Daily Times article

4 March 2011
Science dusts of penguins for 80th birthday
Scientists have come up with a novel way of ''dry cleaning'' Phillip Island's famed little penguins. As the island prepares to mark the penguin parade's 80th anniversary - which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year - researchers John Orbell from Victoria University and Peter Dann from Phillip Island Nature Parks are testing a new method of cleaning oil from the birds' feathers.
Read Sydney Morning Herald article

Zero tolerance for dog owners next penguin breeding season
Zero tolerance will be shown to dog owners walking their pets without a leash around Federation Point as part of a new action plan to provide better protection for Manly's nesting little penguins in the upcoming breeding season. The action plan by the NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and Manly Council aims to reduce the chance of dog attacks - the biggest threat to birds in the area - and improve community education about the endangered population.
Read DECCW media release


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