03 June 2011

New penguins homes on the right side of road

NEW ZEALAND - Why didn't the little penguin cross the road? Because she had a nesting box by the sea.

On 22 May, about 25 volunteers helped to place 50 wooden nesting boxes near the tip of the breakwater near Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay as part of a community project led by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

DOC representative Greg Napp told the Motueka Golden Bay News that it was hoped the nesting boxes would encourage the birds to nest on the seaward side of the road, rather than in the Tarakohe cliffs on the other side. Every year penguins are killed by cars as they make their way to and from their nests.

The nesting boxes were buried in soil, and native plants will be added to create a more natural look and make the small entrances less visible. The size of the entrances will also protect the penguins from dogs and cats.

Mr Napp told the Motueak Golden Bay News that at least three penguin pairs have moved into the nesting boxes that were placed in the area two years ago.

Although it has long been a penguin habitat, the number of penguins in the coastal area from Pohara to Ligar Bay has declined over the years. If enough little penguins decide to nest in the harbour, it could become a drawcard for tourists like Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony is for Oamaru.

A nest of protection by Hayley Gale, 26 May 2011, Motueka Golden Bay News

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