Little penguins rescued from drain disaster

EcoWorld’s trainee vet nurse Celine Moshiem holds the fledgeling Little Penguin. Photo: Supplied.

A trapped penguin family, including a chick, have been rescued from a drain in Picton.

Staff from EcoWorld Aquarium & Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre rescued three Little Blue Penguins discovered stuck in a drain in the Interislander carpark in Picton last week.

The two adult penguins and a chick were taken to EcoWorld’s rehab centre.

Worried members of the public contacted the centre after hearing the trapped birds cry out.

EcoWorld’s director John Reuhman says the penguins all appear to okay.

But the chick has lost some of its downy coating as a result of being caught in the drain.

“We responded to several calls from members of the public who heard the Little Blues plaintive cries,” he says.

“We have checked their health. They seem to be in reasonable nick, and they are very feisty and bitey.”

The penguins will stay at the centre and be looked after until they have put on enough weight to be released back to the wild,

“We do need to get them back up to a healthy weight so they can survive in the wild.

“The chick has a reasonable coating of down.  But there are patches where the down has obviously been worn off being trapped in the drain,” says John.

EcoWorld Aquarium works with Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary where the Little Blues, once back to full health, will be released back into the wild.

John says the episode is a “classic example” of man meets nature.

“The Little Blues lucky escape is a classic example of man meets nature and nature comes off second best.

“Penguins live in dangerous places where it is hard for predators to get at them, but sometimes they get stuck,” he says.

Penguin breeding season is underway and staff at the animal rehabilitation centre expect to see more Little Penguins.

John says if anyone finds a sick or injured bird they should contact EcoWorld Aquarium or the Department of Conversation for advice.

“Take care Little Penguins are wild animals and they do bite,” he says.

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