Penguin death prompts warning to dog owners

The death of a Little Blue Penguin has sparked calls for dog owners to be responsible on Dunedin's beaches.

Blue Penguins Pukekura manager Hoani Langsbury said visitors were on the viewing platform last Thursday when they saw a black-backed gull circling what appeared to be a dead penguin on Pilots Beach.

It was not one of their penguins, as it did not have an identification tag, he said.

An autopsy showed the adult female penguin sustained ''extensive trauma'' to her chest, which was consistent with a dog attack.

''We work very hard on behalf of the Pukekura Trust to look after penguins. I'm on the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust as well so I know how hard and how big of an investment it is to keep our penguin populations going,'' Mr Langsbury said.

Penguins were particularly susceptible to dog attacks at this time of year as they were breeding, meaning they spent much more time on land.

He urged people to keep their dogs under control, know where they were, and be responsible on beaches where penguins may be.

It was ''pretty rare'' for people to take dogs on to Pilots Beach, but further up the harbour it was more common, he said.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

Comments

Dogs. ALWAYS a bone of contention.