The penguins, named Audrey and Clover, by Taronga veterinary staff during their rehabilitation at the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital were released in quick succession right into the water at Long Reef Beach.
After a final check, Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital manager, Libby Hall, gently placed Audrey into the water and where the penguin quickly swam away, but soon was seen hovering in the surf further out, apparently waiting for Clover, who soon joined her
“At this time of year penguins can travel long distances, up to 500 kilometres out to sea.
“They’ll will do well back in the wild; they’re very healthy birds, very robust and nice and fit,” Libby said.
Audrey was brought to the wildlife hospital by the Native Animal Trust Fund in early February, after being found with her right leg badly tangled in fishing line in the Hunter region. She was lying down and unable to stand for a full week and a half before antibiotic treatment got her back on her feet and swimming in the hospital’s rehabilitation pool, where she was joined by Clover.
Named after Clovelly, where she was found moulting and very thin, Clover was also brought to the wildlife hospital in February, receiving treatment for malnourishment.
Once fairly common in the Sydney area, Little Penguin numbers have diminished due to coastal development, pollution, and attacks by domestic pets. Libby said people could help Little Penguins, like Audrey and Clover, by keeping dogs on leashes at beaches, not leaving fishing rubbish behind and protecting plants and trees along the foreshore.
The Taronga Wildlife Hospital receives approximately 35 Little Penguins each year.
Taronga works 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.