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Penguins removed from Middle Island, placed in cold storage

News Article Date: 
Friday, 11 August 2017

The recently killed Little Penguins have been removed from Middle Island.

The penguins have had their height, weight and other details recorded before being placed into Deakin University’s cold storage facility.

This allows for the possibility for research to be carried out in the future.

“Research undertaken could help us learn more about our penguin colony and help with management in the future,” Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Network Penguin Monitoring Coordinator Dr Trish Corbett said.

“This will also mean that something good could come out of this sad event.”

Dr Corbett said that while the Middle Island Project Working Group is working hard to adjust its management of the island to accommodate changes observed in both penguin and fox behaviour, the solution was not necessarily as simple as “just putting the dogs on the island earlier.”

“The crossing over to the island can be dangerous at any time of the year, but it is extremely dangerous in winter,” she said.

“The weather is harsh, seas are much rougher and a lot of the sand is removed. This makes the channel very deep and unsafe for both the volunteers and the dogs to cross.

“The safety of the dogs and the volunteers is paramount. Over winter, there may be several days where we cannot reach the island to feed the dogs.

“Tragically, people have drowned in this area, highlighting the risk of crossing in unfavourable conditions.

“Our Little Penguins have come back from worse odds before and we hope that they will once again show us how resilient they are.”

The maremma guardian dogs returned to Middle Island on Thursday morning, and penguin arrival counts will commence once the tides allow this to be done safely.

RELATED STORY: Fox attacks Middle Island penguins

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