Accurate count aim for penguin census

'We can give them the opportunity to flourish'

Last updated 11:14 19/12/2012
Little blue penguins
RIGHT AT HOME: Two little blue penguins nesting.

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Tonight's census of little blue penguins coming ashore around Timaru's coastline will help provide an idea of population numbers in the area.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) estimates the penguins have been returning to breed for at least 15 years, and their numbers are slowly rising.

DOC community relations ranger George Iles said nest sites had been found under Benvenue cliffs, at the eastern extension, and along Caroline Bay's Marine Parade.

Now he was hoping to get accurate numbers of individual birds.


"I can't say what the outcomes [of the count] will be but it's exciting. And we can give them the opportunity to flourish.


  • Little blue penguins (korora) grow to between 35cm and 40cm and weigh about 1kg as adults.
  • They live about seven years and usually mate for life.
  • Between May and June they prepare nests. Between August and November they breed.
  • When moulting sometime between November and March they cannot swim and come ashore for about two weeks until their new coat has grown.
  • The remainder of the time is spent mostly out at sea feeding.

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- The Timaru Herald


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