Spotted a Sick or Injured Penguin? 0800 SICK PENGUIN

Have you found a sick or injured penguin?

Alongside our ongoing scientific monitoring, Western Bay Wildlife Trust plays a vital role in rescuing and rehabilitating Kororā (Little Blue Penguins)

If you spot a little blue penguin coming ashore during the daytime, it could be sick or injured

Please help us by reporting sick or injured penguins in the area by calling 0800 SICK PENGUIN

What to look out for

Healthy kororā typically spend their days fishing out at sea, coming inland around dusk and dawn.

If you spot a little blue penguin coming ashore during the daytime, it could be sick or injured.

Seasonal kororā trends

We tend to find more kororā in distress between October and April each season. 

October to March, these are often fledglings that have recently left the nest and have been unable to hunt well at sea.

January to April, we often receive calls about adult kororā during their moulting period; which is when they replace all of their feathers all at once. It happens once a year and they must stay on land, as they are not waterproof. Prior to moulting, penguins must gain a lot of weight to survive 2-3 weeks of starving and have enough energy reserves to survive at sea afterwards. Their feathers start turning brown, which can appear to look like they are sick. Sometimes they may turn up in odd places and need help being relocated to a safe area and often they may need rescuing if they are really underweight. They are particularly vulnerable to dog attacks during this time of year.

How to identify them

You can tell the difference between a moulting penguin with dull brown, scruffy feathers, and a sick one easily: a healthy moulting penguin will hide itself away on beaches and not remain exposed.

Moulting takes two to three weeks. During this time period, kororā shed all their feathers and, therefore, they can’t hunt at sea.

Sick penguins can be seen coming ashore in the middle of the day and sometimes struggling in the white wash. They might lie exposed on the beach or dunes, often in direct sunlight.

You might notice obvious injuries like bleeding or limping.

What to do if you find a sick or injured penguin

If you see a sick or injured, please call 0800 Sick Penguin (0800 742 573) or message our Facebook page. To minimise stress, make sure to keep domestic pets and children away from the penguin (this goes for all sick or injured wildlife).

Be as quiet as possible and observe from close by while seeking advice. Do not handle the penguin unless it is at risk of being harassed by dogs, especially if they are off-leash. Dog bites are often a death sentence, as they can cause bad infections on top of the existing sickenss or injury.

Please only handle the bird if you're asked to do so during your phone call. If you can’t get hold of us, or if you find a penguin outside of the Western Bay of Plenty area, or if you’re concerned about any other sick/injured wildlife, please use the DOC emergency hotline: 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or call ARRC on (07) 579 9115.

Spotted a dead penguin?

Western Bay Wildlife Trust maintains a database of little blue penguin mortality. This enables us to monitor the quantity and causes of death, to help inform and improve conservation efforts throughout the country.

If you come across a dead penguin, it will be lifeless. They are usually found along the high tide line where they have washed up. You might also find them above the high tide line after stormy weather.

If you find a dead Kororā, please email the following information to date, time, location, and photos.

We also collect dead penguins for our mortality research if they are found in good condition. Please contact 0800 Sick Penguin (0800 742 573) if you spot a freshly dead specimen.

Thank you for helping to protect our kororā!

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