Leigh Penguin Project
Little blue penguins – kororā can be found right around New Zealand. They come ashore to nest, feed their young, moult or even to rest, usually arriving at dusk and leaving again at dawn.
Little blue Penguin’s major threats are rats, stoats and dogs wandering or off-leash.
Warkworth Area Forest & Bird members made penguin nesting boxes and placed them around the coast from Ti Point to Goat Island.
To further help the little blue penguins, the Leigh Penguin project began trapping alongside the coast to target rats, stoats, weasels and possums. Numerous volunteers regularly check traplines and so far over 1000 predators have been removed.
Sightings of penguins on land were almost non-existent. A trained dog located a number of well-hidden nests alongside the Ti Point Coastal Track. Several locals identified other natural penguin nesting sites. Penguins are also living under a few Leigh houses and some are using penguin nesting boxes.
Cameras have been placed near nesting sites and recorded penguins with nesting material, feeding chicks and also moulting.
Leigh Penguin Project plans to increase and continue predator controls. The group also aim to raise awareness and encourage dogs to be on a leash.
Data is being collated and next season Leigh Penguin project plan to increase its monitoring and observations of penguins to get a better indication of the numbers of penguins coming ashore.