Little blue penguin chicks and parent rescued from a beach in Tasman
Image: Mana Stratton | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC is urging dog owners to control their dogs after five little blue penguins/kororā have been attacked and killed since June in the Nelson/Tasman area.

Date:  17 November 2022

In the most recent dog attack, an adult was killed in its burrow, leaving two chicks behind. Linda Jenkins from Love Our Little Blues (Taman Bay Blue Penguin Trust) rescued the two chicks and the other parent when it returned to the burrow the next morning.

The chicks and adult are being hand fed by vet Mana Stratton as it takes two adults to successfully feed and raise chicks in the wild.

Four weka were also recently attacked by a dog in Bishopdale Avenue in Nelson, with one having to be euthanised by a vet.

DOC Motueka Community Ranger Helen Forsey says dog owners have a responsibility to control their dogs to keep native wildlife safe.

“Keeping dogs under control enables dogs and wildlife to safely share beaches and other places.

“It’s a legal requirement for dog owners to carry a lead in public, even in an off-lead area and to keep dogs confined within their property when at home.

“Dog owners should also be able to call their dog back straight away, not only to protect wildlife but also to keep their dog safe.

“On the beach, walk with dogs on the wet sand to avoid disturbing shorebird nesting areas in sand dunes or around driftwood. Stay clear of groups of resting shorebirds to avoid stressing them.

“Little blue penguins are vulnerable when moving between the sea and their nests at dawn and dusk, so people should be more aware of them at these times.

“Penguins and other ground dwelling native birds can’t escape dogs easily. It takes just a second for a dog to cause a fatal injury to a penguin.

“Local community groups in Nelson Tasman are working hard to protect native wildlife like little blue penguins by reducing predators and restoring their habitat. It’s extremely disheartening to see wildlife killed in such a needless and preventable way.”

The Lead the Way campaign is trying to avoid these situations through advocacy and awareness, and by empowering dog owners to share the beach safely with wildlife.

About Lead the Way

Dogs on Nelson/Tasman beaches


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