Date: 09 October 2012
A little blue penguin has died after suffering severe injuries as a result of being attacked by a dog at Taylors Mistake recently.
It is the second penguin to be killed by a dog on Christchurch beaches in the last six months.
This death was completely avoidable, says Department of Conservation Ranger, Anita Spencer, who picked up the injured bird from the dog’s owner late last month.
“It serves as yet another reminder that people need to keep their dogs on a leash or under close control at all times.”
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Little blue penguins are also known as white-flippered penguins in Canterbury
The attack happened very quickly and all it took was one bite to inflict fatal injuries, she says. The penguin was taken to a bird rehabilitation specialist but had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries.
While she praised the dog’s owner for picking up the bird and contacting DOC, Ms Spencer says for the penguin, it was too little, too late.
“People don’t like to think that their dog would attack wildlife but it is natural behaviour for dogs.”
Christchurch City Council Animal Control Team Leader Mark Vincent says it is up to owners to control their dogs on beaches where wildlife is present.
“Our message is simple: either control your dog with a leash or stay away altogether.
“Council staff will be patrolling Christchurch beaches to ensure dogs are under control but it’s up to dog owners to prevent unnecessary incidents like this from happening.”
In April Ms Spencer picked up a yellow-eyed penguin from Southshore beach with dog-bite injuries after being alerted by a member of the public but it later died.
Little blue penguins, which are known as white-flippered penguins in Canterbury, nest in small numbers on rocky foreshores in the region. At this time of year the penguins cross beaches almost daily and are pairing up and laying eggs. At only about 25cm tall and weighing just 1kg, they cannot defend themselves from attack.
Members of the public are urged to contact the Department of Conservation via the DOC emergency hotline number 0800 DOCHOT (0800 36 24 68) to report injured native wildlife or instances of animal attack.
DOC Community Relations Officer
Ph +64 3 341 9119 or +64 27 217 0846