Cyclone proving tough for penguins

The large swell from tropical Cyclone Victor is proving dangerous for not only people, but the little blue penguins too.

Mauao Area Wildlife Trust's Julia Graham says there have been a few penguins washed ashore in the large waves recently, including a fledgling found washed up on Mount Main Beach yesterday in a bad state.


The fledgling penguin washed ashore yesterday.

A post on Mauao Area Wildlife Trust's Facebook page reads: “adult penguins find these rough oceans difficult, but for lots of new fledgling penguin babies, these waves are a killer. This morning's little baby washed up on the main beach very thin and unable to feed itself”.

A member of the public found the baby penguin, which was looked after by Mauao Area Wildlife Trust summer ambassadors Jassalyn Bradbury and Sophie Graham who kept the penguin safe until it was taken to ARRC Wildlife Trust vets for treatment and feeding.

“The little penguin will be kept until it reaches a desirable weight and the ocean has calmed down, then it will be released back into the wild,” reads the Facebook post.

Julia says rough waves and ocean make it very hard for an adult penguin to hunt and feed in those conditions, and more serious for a fledgling.

“Because of the rough oceans, there's going to be penguins washing up all up and down our coastlines.

“If it is night time it's best to just leave them because they're going to try and come out of the water at night to have a rest.

“If it's during the day, once again, it's a natural thing. It is a cyclone that's doing this. However, if they feel that the penguin is at risk from people or dogs, they can ring 0800 SICKPENGUIN.”

Access to the Mauao Base Track was closed earlier today due to the significant swell making it unsafe conditions for people to walk around the Mount.

Moturiki Island, known as Leisure Island, was also being assessed for dangerous conditions.

The Tauranga City Council advises people to be aware of trip hazards on the base track today, as the big wave action stripped away up to 150mm of the track surface in some areas.

Contractors will work on the affected parts of the track today, with resurfacing scheduled for next week.

If you see a penguin in trouble, contact 0800 SICKPENGUIN (0800 742573).



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On the ’Bird Walk’, Katikati looking over the Uretara stream to the Kaimai ranges. Photo: Glenice McDonald.

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