Little Penguin Monitoring and Protection Measures
Little Penguins face a range of threats, in both the marine and terrestrial environment. Effective protection requires cooperative action from all levels of government, the private sector and individuals.
The Tasmanian Government is working to mitigate various risks to Little Penguin colonies through stronger penalties for dog attacks. It has also established the Tasmanian Penguin Advisory Group to provide expert advice on matters relating to Little Penguins.
Tasmanian Government agencies are involved in a number of current monitoring, management and response activities, including but not limited to:
- Surveys of selected Little Penguin colonies across the State, including on offshore islands;
- Working with community and NRM groups to enhance penguin habitat through weed removal, vegetation rehabilitation and the establishment of artificial nest boxes on both reserved and private land;
- Undertaking targeted education campaigns around little penguins and their protection, including the ‘WildSC’OOL’ partnership program, in which participating schools undertake environmental activities in local reserves, supported by volunteers and PWS;
- Implementing the Discovery Ranger program (a PWS initiative), which includes four dedicated Discovery Rangers deployed over the summer months to provide education and interpretive services at two popular Little Penguin rookeries on reserved land;
- Communicating best-practice Penguin Watching Guidelines to promote appropriate non-invasive means of observing penguins in Tasmania;
- Working with local councils and other stakeholders to develop on-ground management initiatives such as fencing and improved signage; and,
- Providing advice to regulators, local authorities and developers on avoiding, minimising and mitigating impacts to penguins.
The Dog Control Act 2000 provides the legislative framework for the management of dogs in Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government recently strengthened this legislation with amendments to protect declared 'sensitive wildlife'. The Bill also includes increased penalties as well as creating a new offence for instances where a dog injures or kills sensitive wildlife.
On 25 December 2019, the Minister declared Little Penguins to be 'sensitive wildlife' and declared a number of Little Penguin colony locations as 'sensitive areas'.
- Low Head Promontory, Bicheno, Diamond Island, Governor Island, Wynyard/Ulverstone and Stanley