Penguin recovering

Department of Conservation biodiversity assets programme manager (coastal Otago) David Agnew...
Department of Conservation biodiversity assets programme manager (coastal Otago) David Agnew holds the injured crested penguin before it was transferred to Penguin Place yesterday. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
A rare penguin rescued from a West Coast beach will recuperate in Otago.

The Fiordland crested penguin was found at Jackson Head, South Westland, on Friday night with an injured leg.

Tourists alerted a nearby hospitality operator, who took the penguin to the Department of Conservation's field office.

It was treated in Wanaka on Saturday, and transferred to Dunedin's Doc office yesterday morning for a quick stop, before heading to Penguin Place hospital on the Otago Peninsula to recuperate.

Doc South Westland biodiversity ranger Becky Wilson said it was not known how the penguin hurt its leg, but it might have been attacked by a seal or a shark.

Miss Wilson said Doc usually "let nature take its course", but crested penguins were an important species in decline.

She kept the penguin, whose sex and age is unknown, in a bath overnight before it went to Wanaka.

The penguin's wound was cleaned at the Wanaka Veterinary Centre, and it was put on a course of antibiotics.

She expected it would take about a fortnight to recover.

Miss Wilson said the community's involvement in the penguin rescue was invaluable.

The exercise helped raise awareness of a threatened species which breeds in South Westland.

- Eileen Goodwin

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