Taronga Wildlife Hospital
The Taronga Wildlife Hospital receives approximately 35 Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) each year. We work closely with the Threatened Species Unit of the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, as well as wildlife rehabilitation groups and local non-government organisations to monitor the health of the Sydney population of Little Penguins. We receive penguins from up and down the NSW coast. They are admitted to the hospital with a variety of reasons – some are underweight and exhausted, some have been injured in dog attacks, others are ill. Some penguins are admitted during their annual moult. During the moult penguins cannot go in the water as they are not waterproof, and must stay on land. The moult lasts about a month and during this time, penguins are vulnerable to harassment by humans, domestic animals or predators. Little Penguins that are successfully rehabilitated for release into the wild are given a unique identification microchip implant – this helps the Threatened Species Unit monitor their survival and movement. A Little Penguin brought to us in 2008 had been picked up by a White-bellied Sea-eagle on a Newcastle Beach. Unfortunately, this penguin could not be released due to the extent its injuries, but it remains as a breeding bird in the Taronga Zoo Little Penguin colony.
‘Project Penguin’ is a Conservation Education Program delivered by Taronga Zoo’s Learning Centre in partnership with the Northern Beaches Learning Alliance.
During Term 2, school students learn everything about the Little Penguins that live in the local area, becoming youth ambassadors for the locally threatened species. This year the program has over 750 students from 10 schools in the Northern Peninsula region. Public Schools include: Manly Village, Manly Vale, Manly West, Curl Curl North, Harbord and Narraweena. Their high school mentors are from: Manly Selective, Balgowlah Boys, Mackellar Girls and Cromer.
The Primary School students, with their High School mentors, will undertake a range of activities aimed to increase their knowledge of the Little Penguins, threats to the colony and positive actions that they and the public can take to protect the species. As a culmination of the program the students start their own community education program by getting their conservation messages out to the public.
Fish For Good
Taronga's Fish For Good is a marine conservation campaign aimed at empowering people to make informed choices when they buy seafood for their family. They will not only enjoy a nutritious meal, but will help protect our oceans at the same time. As a conservation organisation, Taronga believes that people and wildlife can share this planet both now and in the future, and through simple actions we can all help to make this a reality. Taronga recognises that over one million species share the world’s seafood, of which humans are just one. Through sharing experiences and stories of marine animals, Taronga is empowering Australians to join with us in protecting wild marine life though their everyday actions. Taronga’s Fish For Good campaign encourages Zoo visitors, school groups and the wider community to learn how their seafood choices can make a positive difference to marine life. Through our behaviour change messages at the Zoo, we encourage the use of MSC seafood which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. MSC certified seafood supports sustainable management of fish stocks, marine ecosystems and fisheries jobs. We have also worked with our catering partners, Restaurant Associates, to achieve MSC certification of Taronga’s The View Cafe, the first Chain of Custody MSC certified cafe in Australia.