Man-made love nests are helping Wellington’s little blue penguin population thrive.
Wellington Zoo and Forest and Bird have finished putting out more than 200 nest boxes along the South Coast, and is now monitoring how well they are used.
The next inspection of the boxes will be on Wednesday, but Zoo spokeswoman Libby Callander said they had proved popular since they first started being introduced three years ago.
Little blue penguins nest in pairs, and two chicks had emerged from every nest boxes peguins settled in last year.
"They might not look that comfy, but they actually really like them."
The wooden boxes have small entrance, but provide shelter and protection from predators such as dogs.
Placing the boxes along the coast also enables the penguins to find safe nests without having to venture across the road, where they were at danger from cars.
"Having the nest boxes out there gives them a safer place to nest," Ms Callander said.
As monitoring continued, more boxes may be placed along the coast, as the most popular nesting spots were identified, she said.
"It’s going to continue on and just build on it so that we have got this really nice environment that they can enjoy."
The Zoo formalised its Places for Penguins partnership with Forest and Bird earlier this year.
The programme started in 2007, with the aim of making the south cast a safer habitat, and the first nest boxes started being put out in 2009.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have you used an illegal drug within the past year?Related story: Global Drugs Survey: The politics of pot