06 November 2014

Killer stoat or ferret devastates local little penguin population

Little penguin
Credit: Department of Conservation
NEW ZEALAND – Autopsies conducted by Massey University's Wildbase have shown that the lethal wounds on 29 little penguins, found dead along the coast at Doctors Point near Dunedin, were caused by mustelid jaws.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Conservation Services Manager in Dunedin, David Agnew, said that the deaths will have a serious impact on the local little penguin population and demonstrate the devastation even a single stoat or ferret can cause to New Zealand's native wildlife.

“It’s going to take many years for the population to recover from this rampant attack – quite likely from just one stoat or ferret. It shows that these mammalian pests are hardwired to kill our wildlife for food or sport.”