Penguins swim in for count

RIGHT AT HOME: Two little blue penguins nesting.
RIGHT AT HOME: Two little blue penguins nesting.

Nearly 50 adult penguins were counted last night along the Timaru coastline in the first local census.

Volunteers stood around known nest sites and waited until the 47 adults came ashore between 9pm and 10pm. The sitting adult came out to greet the returning bird and then went to sea on its 24 hour feeding shift.

DOC community relations ranger George Isles said the result was excellent and discussions were underway to determine a way forward.

Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, Kiwi Conservation Club, Timaru District Council and members of the public made up the 25 strong group of volunteers who discovered some new nest sites during the count.

Mr Isles said among the volunteers there was a call for public meeting to gauge interest and ideas for the future of the penguins.

''There's a real feeling in the community that we are the guardians of the little treasures.''

The Timaru Herald