There really may be penguins crossing

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 21/02/2013
penguins crossing
GRANT SHIMMIN/ Fairfax NZ
BIRD WALK: Signs have been placed along Marine Pde in Timaru, alerting people to the town’s growing penguin population.

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Timaru's port has officially been recognised as penguin territory.

Two yellow and black council signs featuring the image of a penguin have been installed along Marine Pde, alerting passers-by to the area's growing blue penguin population.

The signs were put up by the council last week after the first formal count found at least 50 of the smallest penguin species were living at Caroline Bay.

Thirty people, including conservation group representatives and individuals, both adults and children, took part in the survey on December 20, which was the first of its kind for Timaru.

Department of Conservation (DOC) community relations ranger George Iles announced later that week that DOC, Forest and Bird and the Timaru District Council had started work on ways to protect the birds.

Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said the yellow and black signs were part of that work.

"As a result of that penguin count, I was speaking to George Iles, from DOC, and he thought it was a good idea that people and motorists knew that there were penguins in the area."

DOC ranger Murray Thomas said the move from the council was pleasing.

"Anything like that's good. The key thing is to let people know, like seals, it's their natural home."

He said it was important people did not disturb the birds.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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