A group of volunteers trying to attract penguins to nest in
Brighton says it is sick of dog attacks on the little birds,
when signs clearly prohibit dogs from the beach where the
The group is trying to re-establish a colony of little blue
penguins near Barney's Island, where a colony last thrived
more than 30 years ago.
Through some hard work putting in shelter for the penguins
and monitoring their movements, the Big Rock Protect Our
Penguins Group had counted about eight birds that returned to
the area in the past two or three years.
Brighton resident Dave McPhee said five of those had been
killed by dogs.
Three birds were nesting at Brighton so far this year, and
the group was seriously concerned about people ignoring the
Dunedin City Council dog control bylaw prohibiting having
dogs on the main Brighton Beach.
''We have major concerns about dogs decimating the penguins
that are making a comeback when they have been absent for so
''There's heaps of signs up, yet people every day are on the
beach with dogs. The irritating thing is people walk past the
signs, read them and keep on going.''
Penguins were defenceless against dogs. If dog owners ignored
warning signs there would be fatal consequences for penguins,
Dunedin City Council senior animal control officer Jim Pryde
said the council worked with the Department of Conservation
to catch offenders and follow up on infringements when dog
walkers were caught in prohibited areas.
Owners would be fined $300 for breaching dog prohibitions,
and Doc had the power to prosecute in cases involving an
attack on a bird.
He was aware that people were taking dogs on to the beach at
Brighton, although no penguin deaths had been reported yet
He urged dog owners to be ''extremely vigilant'' to any
It was mandatory for dog owners to carry a lead when taking a
dog on the beach, in case wildlife was present.
He said Doc and the council could not be everywhere at once,
and relied on the public to help.
If people saw dogs on beaches where they should not be, they
should report the sighting to Doc or dog control.
Jotting down a few details could make all the difference if
people saw a dog in a prohibited area or attacking wildlife.
The public can report injured wildlife by calling the Doc
hotline on 0800 DOC HOT, or report dogs on beaches to animal
control, (03) 477-4000.