Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Big adventure for a Little Penguin

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NSW Department of Primary Industries, Lord Howe Island Marine Park News

Deb Thompson and the Little Penguin
Deb Thompson and the Little Penguin. Photo: NSW DPI.

A Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) made an unexpected appearance in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park last month. The penguin was first reported on the beach near Cobbys Corner by Leonie Higgins and was attended to shortly after by veterinary nurse and Australian Seabird Rescue member Deb Thompson. Taking it under her wing, Deb provided the bird with her skilled care until it could be transported to a rehabilitation facility at Taronga Wildlife Hospital & Pest Control.

Little Penguins are the smallest penguin species, breeding along the coastlines of southern mainland Australia and New Zealand. The penguin that arrived on the shores of Lord Howe Island was, therefore, a long way from home and was most likely helped along by strong ocean currents.

This time of year, Little Penguins shed and replace their feathers before the next breeding season, and this particular penguin was a young bird going through its first moult. While moulting, their new feathers are not waterproof and they are especially vulnerable, so it is incredibly lucky that this penguin survived the long ocean voyage to Lord Howe Island.

The Lord Howe Island Signal 28 February 2021

Thanks to Deb and staff at Taronga Wildlife Hospital & Pest Control, the penguin is doing well in rehabilitation. It is eating and gaining weight, will soon finish moulting, and will most likely be released to re-join one of the colonies near Sydney.

This article appeared in The Lord Howe Island Signal, 28 February 2021.

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