|Bella having a final swim at Taronga Wildlife Hospital before|
being released. Photo credit: Madeleine Smitham
Bella was released off Manly's Store Beach by Taronga Wildlife Hospital Manager Libby Hall, Sydney Harbour National Park Ranger Melanie Tyas and volunteer penguin wardens.
Lucky had been seen swimming in the area nearby at twilight, looking for her. Little penguins usually mate for life and as it is breeding season it was important to get the two love-birds back together.
Bella was brought to the Taronga Wildlife Hospital by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) volunteer wardens with severe injuries to her left leg that were consistent with marine debris, such as a fishing line.
Lucky was found entangled in fishing line a few years ago and had to be freed.
A second male penguin was also released back into waters off Store Beach after becoming seriously underweight during moulting.
Ms Hall said, “The endangered colony of little penguins at Manly is tiny. There is a team of dedicated penguin wardens who keep watch over the birds during the breeding season to protect them.
"Every little penguin in this colony is very important.”
NPWS ranger Ms Tyas said the endangered colony of little penguins was extremely fragile living in the middle of Australia’s busiest city.
“The breeding success of the population over the last five years is testament to how much Sydney-siders care about these beautiful birds.
"The Harbour is busier than usual over Christmas and summer and the penguins are at their most vulnerable as many of them are moulting.
"We’re asking everyone to remember our little penguins are about and to help look after what really is a unique population in our city.”
Taronga Zoo and the NPWS urge people fishing this summer to properly dispose of all used fishing lines and hooks.
Little penguins returned to the wild [media release], 17 December 2014, Taronga Zoo
Injured penguin Bella swims towards Manly Wharf where her soulmate Lucky the little penguin has been waiting, 18 December 2014, Manly Daily