This introduction is sourced from this article in Manly Observer.
Manly is home to the only breeding colony of Little Penguins in all of mainland Australia. And it’s a colony on the brink – the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has just completed their count for the 2020-21 season and recorded just 23 breeding pairs of Little Penguins, a fraction of its former might.
For comparison, we asked for the the count from the 2013-14 and 2014-15, and there were 70 and 67 breeding pairs in each year respectively. That number was reduced significantly the following year thanks to menacing foxes, but it was slowly climbing back up in the thirties by 2019. But now just 23 pairs. In less than eights years a drop from 140 breeding penguins to just 46.
Taronga Conservation Society’s Australian Registry of Wildlife Health project officer Jane Hall confirmed her team wasn’t seeing Little Penguins as frequently they used to. “We’re not seeing them come in alive very often, and we’re not seeing them come into the registry either,” she said. “We’re not sure what’s happening.”
Manly Ward Councillor Sarah Grattan, from Your Northern Beaches Independent Team, had been working with Council staff and National Parks and Wildlife Service to do something to protect the dwindling penguin population.
One thing that is not commonly understood by the public is that breeding penguins search for a place to nest on selected beaches in Manly. If the penguins smell any scent of dogs, it indicates danger and they will not come ashore to rest and breed. This is why it is critically important to keep dogs off the beaches in Manly where the penguins nest.
Other key threats to Manly's little penguins include fox and cat incursion, boat strikes and changes in oceanic conditions
On Tuesday 28 September 2021, the day before this Manly Observer article was written, Cr Sarah Grattan put forward a notice of motion to accurately track the penguin population and give additional support to the authorities who can protect the penguins.
Melbourne's Penguins Are Almost Extinct
We have an update on 'Saving Manly's Penguins' in from Council yesterday.
Here are the recommendations put forward by Council to Save Manly's Penguins.
The endangered population of Little Penguins at Manly is managed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (NPWS and EES divisions) with advice from the local advisory group, Little Penguin Recovery Team.
Council is a member of the Recovery Team which is a multi-agency group with representatives from DPIE, NPWS, volunteer Penguin Wardens, Taronga Wildlife Hospital, Q-Station, Sydney Coastal Councils Group and TfNSW.
Council staff continue to work closely with lead agencies and volunteer groups (e.g. Manly Penguin Wardens) to address key threats to the endangered population.
Councillor Sarah Grattan would like to thank every single one of the team who are involved with reducing the risks and protecting these very special animals in our shared community.
If you would like to keep up to date with this issue, please follow Cr Sarah Grattan on her social media feeds where she will be following up with this critical issue.