A total of 24 little blue penguins have been killed on Western Bay of Plenty beaches over the last year, by dogs, in daylight.
Western Bay Wildlife Trusts volunteer Rosalie Crawford picked up the latest dog attack victim from Papamoa over the weekend.
Taking his last look at the sea. This Little Blue Penguin was attacked in the weekend. Photo: supplied.
The figures are concerning wildlife rescuers who are calling for more stringent policing of dog bans around Mauao, Moturiki/Leisure Island, both of which are penguin rookeries.
“The dogs are coming up to the penguins and biting them, and in over half the cases, the rescue people were on their way and the dogs got to the penguins first,” says Rosalie.
The latest dog attack victim was picked up from the home of the couple who rescued it from the beach.
“When I arrived it was standing in the window in the sun,” says Rosalie.
She wrapped it in towel, put it in a box and took it to the vet – who put the penguin down. It had been blinded on one eye by a dog bite and was unable to hunt for itself. The tooth had gone down through its skull down into the right eye.
“It was still swimming trying to survive, but was unable to hunt well. Its chest quite thin. Because it had no food going it wasn't able to create enough warmth,” says Rosalie.
“Penguins have an oil on their body that keeps them waterproof. It also keeps them warm.”
Penguins normally come ashore at night. If they come ashore during the day it means they are sick, says Rosalie.
“If they are getting out of the sea during the day they are sick penguins because they are too cold. People see them, dogs go after them.”
She advises people to call 0800 SICK PENGUIN and a volunteer will collect the bird.
The Western Bay Wildlife Trust is holding penguin aversion dog training on Saturday at Mount Maunganui on the beach opposite the Banks Avenue access from 1.30-4pm, and Sunday at Papamoa on the beach opposite Parton Road from 11am-2pm.
To register phone 021 0776851, or 0800 742573. Email firstname.lastname@example.org