Penguin 'heroes' knew something was wrong

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 07:57 11/05/2012
Penguin
INJURED: Pauline Conayne, wildlife technician at the Wildlife Health Centre at Massey University tends to the injured yellow-eyed penguin.

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The family who have been labelled "heroes" for protecting a yellow-eyed penguin which had been mauled by a dog say they just did what anyone would have done in the same situation.

Sharnee Davies, 16, was taking pictures on Southshore Beach last month when she came across the injured penguin.

"It looked like it had a broken leg and that something had attacked it. I knew there was something wrong with it straight away," she said.

She rang her mother, Cherylan Davies, who arrived at the scene, along with several other family members, to keep watch on the penguin before Department of Conservation (DOC) workers arrived.

"I just got this call from my daughter who said she'd come across a penguin with its leg snapped right back. We headed down and it was just lying there trying to move. It looked really dehydrated and in pain but we didn't know quite what to do," Cherylan said.

The family kept watch over the penguin for more than 40 minutes, shooing other dogs away from the animal.

"Every time we got too near it looked quite stressed so we kept our distance and had to keep some other dogs away. We tried to give it some water but it didn't seem to want it so all we could do was wait and keep anything away from it."

The penguin, named Titahi, has had its broken leg pinned and faces several months of rehabilitation before it can be released back into the wild.

DOC ranger Anita Spencer said the family were "heroes" for looking after Titahi.

However, Cherylan said they had just done what anyone else would have in their situation.

"It's always awesome to be called a hero, but we just did what we thought was right. We couldn't leave it there, so we just did what we could."

She was very glad to hear the penguin was going to be alright.

"It's great to hear it's ok and that we might have made a difference to that."

Spencer said penguins were at their most vulnerable when they were young as they explored the wild, fed and wandered around before they settled to breed.

"To have this juvenile mauled by a dog on its first journey into the world is really disappointing and completely avoidable," she said.

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- The Press

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