News | 13 June 2017

Council frustrated by more dog-related penguin deaths

Another dog attack resulting in the death of two penguins has highlighted the importance of careful supervision of dogs – even in off-leash exercise areas.

Owner with dogs on leads.

The most recent incident occurred in the off-leash exercise area at Houghton Bay beach on Saturday 10 June.

This attack closely follows the death of a little blue penguin on Wellington’s waterfront last month. Both attacks are a stark reminder of the need to keep all dogs on a leash where required, and strictly monitored when not, says Wellington City Councillor Peter Gilberd, who holds the Council’s Natural Environment Portfolio.

“It is frustrating that the message isn’t getting through that people must maintain control over their dogs at all times – whether the dogs are on a leash or not.

“In this latest case, the person walking the dog acted responsibly after the incident and contacted relevant parties. But little blue penguins are protected by the Wildlife Act, which is administered by DoC, and they do have the option to prosecute in cases similar to these latest attacks,” adds Cr Gilberd.

The key to protecting penguins is through education and information says Team Leader Urban Ecology, Myfanwy Emeny.

“Because many penguins in Wellington harbour have been banded we have lots of information about their movements. We know that during the months of May and June, adult birds come ashore to prepare nests which can be up to 1.5 km inland. Little penguins are found all around our coastline, and are vulnerable to dogs throughout the year.”