Keep an eye on your dog around the South Coast – for the sake of the penguins

Updated November 2012 to add a great video about the penguin protection work on Wellington’s South Coast.

This news item appeared on the Wellington City Council website back in August 2012, but the warning is one we all need to pay attention to, so we can help keep penguins safe.

Little blue penguins live here.

Little blue penguins live here.

When I’ve taken the dogs to the off-leash area at Ataturk Memorial (Eastern Walkway) I’ve sometimes seen people across the road on the beach with dogs running free. And that’s in spite of the many warning signs.

Two dead little blue penguins were found at the airport end of Lyall Bay beach by a member of the public last week.

The Council’s Biodiversity Coordinator, Myfanwy Emeny, says this isn’t the first time little blue penguins have been attacked along the south coast.

Late last month another penguin was found dead nearby at Hue Te Taka/Moa Point. From the bite marks on all three carcasses it appears the penguins were attacked and killed by dogs

Dogs are not allowed on the seaward side of the road between Wahine Memorial Park at Palmer Head and Moa Point, including Tarakena Bay, except for the main track where they must keep to the track and stay on a lead. This is to give the little blue penguins a safe place to live and breed.

A lot of people might not realise penguins have a very strong smell and are very attractive to dogs. Small dogs can even get inside their nest boxes and destroy the eggs and kill the chicks, says Ms Emeny. …

Under the Dog Control Act, the owner of a dog that attacks or kills wildlife can be fined up to $3000 and the dog can be destroyed.

[Via News — Penguin Deaths: Dog Owners Cautioned.]