Signage to support penguins

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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Nest boxes and new signage are likely to appear at Caroline Bay in the not-too-distant future to support the area's burgeoning blue penguin population.

Department of Conservation and Timaru District Council officials met yesterday to discuss the penguins for the first time since December's formal count found at least 50 of the birds living at Caroline Bay.

They talked over plans for placing nest boxes built by Bluestone School, a project that will probably take place in April or May, as well as "people issues" facing penguins at the bay since they've begun attracting more attention from the public, said DOC community relations ranger George Iles.

"DOC is probably going to put up some sort of informational signage to teach people about the penguins and how not to disturb them," he said. "Hopefully people will make the right choices about their behaviour."

TDC has already placed signs along Marine Parade advising drivers to watch out for the penguins, which have been known to wander as much as two kilometres away from the sea, he said.

The new signs would be funded by DOC and likely placed near existing signs that give information on marine mammals, said council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans.

"This would be a bit more information about the penguins so that people can understand about them and perhaps about what you should and shouldn't do," he said.

Dogs running on the beach continued to be a safety issue for penguins, Mr Iles said, but the question of dog control and regulation in the area was still going through the council submission process.

In the meantime, he recommended that people wanting to view the penguins should wait on the pavement and look down to the rocks where the birds nest, instead of standing on the beach. That can block the penguins' access to their nests.

People should also keep their dogs away from the penguins.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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