You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Tomahawk resident Danielle Culling was walking her dog on the beach, at 2.30pm yesterday, when she was told by another dog walker that there was a dead penguin among tyre tracks.
It looked like it had been hit by a car, she said.
"There were lots of deep tracks around that looked like a car had been driving, reversing and making circles on the beach."
The tracks were not there when she was on the beach the day before, she said.
Ms Culling said the "no car access" signs seemed to be having no impact.
"We have experienced heaps of issues with cars driving on the beach, including speeding cars driving very close to where children are playing.
"Our local community is very passionate about keeping our local wildlife safe on the beach and it is really saddening to see our native animals stressed and killed by reckless driving, though unfortunately, no-one will be very surprised to hear about this."
Other Dunedin residents took to social media to express their frustration about the incident, with one person saying "these people are idiots".
Dunedin Wildlife Hospital manager Jordana Whyte said, assuming the penguin was struck and killed by a car, it highlighted that vehicles did not belong on beaches.
"We have precious native species using these areas; this is their habitat, and driving a car through somebody else’s house is just disrespectful and unnecessary.
"It was completely unavoidable," she said.