Our first visit to Taronga Zoo was a great introduction to Project Penguin.
We were lucky to have our very own talk with Steve the Penguin Keeper where we discovered that a healthy Little Penguin should weigh 1kg and be approximately 30cm tall. We all thought it was amazing that penguins white stomach actually helps to keep them safe. Their light tummy allows them blend in with the surface of the water against the bright sun while searching for food and hide their predators. We learnt they like to eat squid and other small marine life and the parents leave their young in the burrow while they hunt. While they are pretty fast in the water they are slow on land and that is where the trouble starts.
We also sadly learnt that Little Penguins are not endangered everywhere. The Little Penguin colonies that live in Manly are the only ones in danger. People and their pets harm penguins more frequently than their natural predators do. Oil and fuel in the water, rubbish discarded by fishermen and attacks by animals such as dogs all harm the penguins.
This has made us feel sad, disappointed and angry with people. We never would have thought that the nice people of Sydney could do such awful things. However we stopped to think that until today we didn’t really know about the plight of these little penguins so the public must not either.
While the vets and Taronga Zoo staff do a lot to bring awareness and save them if local people learn to keep their pets on leaches and not pollute our local area the penguins can be safe.
We are curious and excited to work with our mentors to help look after them and hope we can make a difference.
- by Curl Curl North Public School