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Happy feet

This little blue penguin was seen at Turihaua Beach on Wednesday taking a rest from the rough sea.

People are reminded to keep their dog on a leash after a little blue penguin was killed by a dog at Mahia at the end of January.

Little penguin (also known as little blue penguin) are the world’s smallest penguin. An adult is just over 25 centimetres tall and weighs around one kilogram. The native bird has an “at risk/declining” conservation status, with dogs, predation and road kills the three biggest threats.

Department of Conservation East Coast operations manager John Lucas said little blue penguins were vulnerable as they leave the nest. This sighting at Turihaua was a timely reminder to owners to keep dogs under control around coastal areas.

“Penguins have a strong smell which is quite attractive to dogs. While on land they are very vulnerable and have no defence against a dog’s bite,” Mr Lucas said.

To keep penguins safe:

¦ Put your dog on a leash around penguin areas.

¦ Keep your dog away from nests and warn others nearby of the location.

¦ Leave penguins alone. Usually scruffy birds are simply moulting.

People should contact the DoC hotline (0800 36 24 68) to report injured native wildlife or instances of animal attack.

Picture by Miranda Samson