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Blue penguin killed by dog in Ōamaru

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Nov 2022, 9:48am
Photo / File
Photo / File

Blue penguin killed by dog in Ōamaru

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Nov 2022, 9:48am

Waitaki District Council is reminding dog owners to keep their pets on a lead after a little blue penguin (kororā) was killed by a dog at Ōamaru Harbour on Sunday.

“The entire Ōamaru Harbour area is a beautiful space to exercise dogs, but it is an on-lead area. This means dogs need to be on their leads and under effective control at all times,” council senior compliance officer Tristan Hope said.

Signs let the public know that the Ōamaru Harbour area is an on-lead area under the Waitaki Dog Control Bylaw.

Dogs are also prohibited in the harbour area between sunset and sunrise because of the increased penguin activity.

The ouncil is working with the Penguin Colony to update the signs to ensure everyone is aware of the rules and remind the public of the severity of affecting a protected species in New Zealand.

Owners of dogs that kill protected wildlife face conviction and a prison term of up to three years or a fine of $20,000, or both.

The dog may also be ordered to be destroyed.

Waitaki District Council senior compliance officer, Tristan Hope and Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony science and environmental manager, Dr Philippa Agnew. Photo / WDC

Waitaki District Council senior compliance officer, Tristan Hope and Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony science and environmental manager, Dr Philippa Agnew. Photo / WDC

Dog owners found breaching council bylaws can also face an infringement fine of $300.

The loss of the penguin on Sunday could affect an entire nest as penguins work as a mating team and rely on each other to raise their chicks.

“We have been lucky enough to have an extended breeding season with the first eggs spotted in May. The chicks in the colony are close to fledging so we really want to send a strong reminder to please keep your dogs on their lead while visiting the Ōamaru Harbour area,” Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony science and environmental manager, Dr Philippa Agnew said.

Dog owners can set an example to other owners by keeping their dogs on lead as there is a variety of wildlife at the harbour, including shags who are also breeding.

 “Shag chicks are also beginning to fledge in the harbour area, please keep your dogs away from these young birds too,” Agnew said.

Any member of the public who saw or has any further information about Sunday’s death, is asked to contact the council on (03) 433 0300.

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