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Manly Little Penguins

Fox Proofing Manly's Endangered Colony

  • YEAR: 2019
  • STATE: New South Wales
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 14 : Life below water/SDG 15: Life on Land

FNPW funds the Manly Little Penguin Program to manage this endangered population. Funds go towards monitoring of the Little Penguin population, provision of resources for volunteers and education activities. This program provides significant educational opportunities to study the population over time and also provides National Parks & Wildlife Services staff and researchers with further opportunities to understand and mitigate threats so that the population remains viable. Without this program, we would not be able to determine if the strategies we are deploying are effective, nor identify appropriate responses to new threats as they are identified.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

Thanks to your support, the breeding colony of Little Penguins on the NSW mainland will be better protected from foxes. The purchase of motion sensing cameras, a thermal camera, fox-deterrent lighting and nest boxes will help this endangered population recover after a vicious fox attack in 2015 killed 27 penguins. The local community rallied to support this important work, donating $20,000 to FNPW’s crowdfunding campaign to fox-proof the Manly Penguins. Before, the penguins were at risk from fox predation. Now, they can increase their numbers in safety.

Manly Little Penguins Fox-proofing project addresses the actions of the endorsed Recovery Plan. Although this plan is no longer a statutory document as there has been a change in legislation, it represents best practice in how the penguins need to be managed.

Monitoring has been undertaken in a standardised manner since 2002/2003 and as a result we have a consistent data set spanning 17 years.

The 2018/19 season was the worst since monitoring began with the number of breeding pairs at 28, down from a maximum of 70 in 2013/14. Manly is home to the only breeding colony of penguins on the NSW mainland and the community is heavily invested in ensuring that the population remains viable.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation the we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Photo Credit: Mel Tyas

PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT

The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2019.

PROJECT PARTNERS

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service is the lead organisation for this project.

Further information about our project partner can be found on their website:

www.environment.nsw.gov.au

Latest news on this project.

“Hi, I’m Melanie Tyas. I’m the Ranger for the Sydney Harbour National Park. One of my jobs is looking after Manly’s Little Penguin colony. It’s an incredibly important task, as this is an endangered population. They’re the very last breeding colony of Little Penguins on the New South Wales mainland.

Since 1999, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife has assisted the conservation of the Manly Little Penguins. I’ve been working with them a long time and I’m so proud that we’ve made a real impact to help the penguins.

FNPW has supported efforts to monitor the penguins, including burrow checks and micro-chipping. This allows us to compare how the colony is going each year, and respond appropriately. FNPW has also funded new nestboxes and installation. The nest boxes have a proven, higher than average breeding success rate.

FNPW supports the Penguin Wardens through providing equipment and all weather jackets. The wardens are volunteers that watch over the colony each night during the breeding season. They ensure dogs, humans and other threats don’t encroach on the vulnerable nesting sites, and frighten the penguins into abandoning their chicks and eggs. Thanks to the wardens, the penguins’ breeding success is improved.

2015 was an awful year for the Manly penguins. A fox got into the colony and killed 27 Little Penguins. I was absolutely devastated.

I was incredibly grateful that FNPW jumped into action. They ran a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $20,000 to help.

As well as running round the clock watches by volunteers and fox control efforts, we used the funds raised in an attempt to fox proof the colony from further attacks. We bought 20 motion sensing cameras to monitor the area, a thermal camera to detect heat given off by predators, 5 high powered fox lights to scare away foxes, and 10 nesting boxes to help the penguins rebuild their numbers.”

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