Penguin thought killed by car at beach

A dead little penguin at Tomahawk Beach on Thursday.PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
A dead little penguin at Tomahawk Beach on Thursday.PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Dunedin residents are upset after a little penguin was found dead and surrounded by tyre tracks at Tomahawk Beach.

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.


Time to block all vehicle access to all beaches, stop dithering. If people want to put their boats in the water they can use the boat ramps already provided

Agree, riverbeds too.

Isn't it ironic that there's a car-for-sale ad right below this very article showing the vehicle on a beach in one othe the photos. Driving on beaches is a Kiwi birth right. Wildlife incl. actual kiwis, comes second. No sorry - third, after people's pets. Always have, always will.

I love how people jump to conclusions. Has an intelligent person actually looked at the penguin to determine cause of death? From the looks of it, it would appear natural, as any vehicle running it over wouldn't leave it so pristine. Also the tracks in the photo could have been from someone concerned taking a closer look. There are no tracks over or close to the penguin. So many irrational haters out there.

"Hey, a dead penguin, let's drive over and have a closer look." Please.
The conclusion that cars don't belong on beaches has been nothing to be "jumped to" over this dead penguin but was reached ages ago, and took years of convincing by inconsiderate motorists doing their absolute best at being a nuissance to pretty much everything and everybody else using the beach. If this penguin turns out to have died of natural causes that won't make cars no more welcome.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter