A plea is being put out to beach-goers who find dead or sick penguins on the shore to keep them, in the name of research.
Mount Penguin Monitoring co-ordinator Dave Richards is leading a study through Massey University into the survival of the penguins after the October 2011 Rena disaster.
The study involves weekly monitoring of various penguin populations around Mount Maunganui. Penguins involved in the Rena clean-up are micro-chipped and monitored for size, health and breeding.
During the current breeding season, Dave says it's common to find dead penguins on the beach and he's asking residents to contact the group if one is spotted.
“We need to scan the birds, to see if they have any microchips in them – this is very important for the study.”
If a penguin is dead, Dave advises wrapping it in a plastic bag and keeping it somewhere cool until they can pick it up. “You can freeze it if you like.”
If the bird is alive, it should be wrapped in a towel or cloth, and put it in a box to keep it warm.
“Do not put the bird in water or your bath. It needs to be dry and warm; then please ring us to arrange a pick up.”
If you find a dead or sick penguin, phone or text 021 719 622.