03 November 2011

Penguin chicks found mauled to death

AUSTRALIA - Fifteen dead little penguin chicks have been found near the Kingscote breeding colony on Kangaroo Island, South Australia.

The Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board (KINRMB) said that as penguins only fledge between two to four chicks per year, this will have a devastating impact on this section of Kingscote’s colony.

It is thought the chicks were mauled by a dog or a cat. There was a similar attack in the same area just over a year ago.

Motion cameras set up in some of Kingcote's colonies as part of a project aimed at identifying some of the management issues associated with colonies in Gulf St Vincent have detected feral and domestic cats and several dogs sniffing around penguin burrows. On at least two occasions the cameras have captured footage of a domestic cat attacking penguin chicks.

The Natural Resources Management Board said it will continue to investigate and  hopefully identify the culprit responsible for these latest deaths.

A little penguin census will be underway soon, with counting of the birds being done at four locations on the island.

Sources
Catastrophe for chicks, The Kangaroo Islander, 6 October 2011
Penguin chicks killed on Kangaroo Island, ABC News, 7 October 2011

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