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Are penguins coming and going on your beach?

Thanks to wonderful support from Phoenix Organics and their blue penguin campaign, a donation has been made to the West Coast Penguin Trust. This wonderful charity works hard to ensure that penguins there are healthy and thriving.

In the month of October, the great annual West Coast blue penguin count takes place, and the Trust is asking locals to keep an eye out for any evidence of these, the smallest of penguins, known as kororā.

Between 21 – 27 October, they would like anyone who is on the West Coast to observe and record whether penguins are using the beach, to build a clearer picture of where kororā are. The best time to do this is early morning when penguins may have left tracks on the sand, freshly washed by the earlier high tide.

To make it easy for you, and accurate for them, you can record penguin observations – including penguin tracks, penguin sounds or perhaps a live penguin – using the iNaturalist app any time that you come across them and add them to the Trust’s blue penguin count project.

Why not take a walk on your local beach and find out if you share it with penguins?

Find out how to get involved here. Information gathered during the count can be invaluable in protecting penguins.

If you’re in other parts of Aotearoa, you can use this app to record any sign of penguins or other species you see, adding to the wider understanding of where such species may be.

The app is a great way to learn about any plant or wildlife, which you can photograph and upload at any time and experts will help identify photos that you post. Your observations also contribute to a bank of knowledge, whether you are recording wildlife or perhaps a weed or invading species.

Blue penguins are at risk from a variety of threats introduced by humans. The West Coast Penguin Trust has established that vehicles on coast roads and loose dogs are the biggest threats to kororā. To protect them from vehicles, they have installed a penguin protection fence to protect four colonies beside the coast road (SH6 north of Punakaiki) and a new fence was installed recently north of Hokitika.

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