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On "penguin awareness day" yesterday, staff at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony picked up a Fiordland crested penguin, or tawaki, from Kakanui, far from the bird’s southwestern coastal breeding grounds, after it was spotted and reported by a Kakanui resident.
The 3.7kg bird picked up yesterday was expected to be large enough to survive the moult on its own and was left in the wild, but in a location inaccessible to humans.
Last year, the Oamaru rehabilitation centre hosted three Fiordland crested penguins and one erect-crested penguin.
"She wasn’t safe," Dr Agnew said of the tawaki.
"We’ve put her in a safe location where we can keep an eye on her but where she can moult naturally on her own, away from people disturbing her and potential dog attacks."
Any black and white penguins, rather than the blue little penguin, seen on Otago beaches should be reported to the Department of Conservation hotline, or to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.