Close Granite Island at night! Save the Penguins from human abuse!
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By signing this petition it will let the Council know of the concerns for the welfare of the Little penguins on Granite island and will most likely result in security cameras and Granite Island being closed at night to unauthorised public persons.
Granite Island’s 17 little penguins show signs of breeding, raising hope of boost to population numbers
Written by Erin Jones, Jade Gailberger, The Advertiser
July 30, 2017 10:36am
A SENIOR researcher is calling for a gate and security cameras as an urgent measure to protect Granite Island’s penguins from human harassment at night.
A gate across the causeway and security cameras along the tram line to prevent unauthorised public access has been recommended by researchers, who are hopeful of a baby boom on the island, off Victor Harbor.
Writing in a report released on Friday, Flinders University penguin ecologist Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel found urgent measures were needed to control disturbances from human activities.
She found that people harassing adult penguins happened on a “fairly regular basis” due to a lack of closure of the island at night.
“This could be achieved by installing a proper gate on the causeway and additional security cameras along the tram line,” Ms Colombelli-Negrel said.
She said additional disturbances caused by people walking their dogs, despite signs prohibiting dogs on the island, could also lead to stress-related diseases and lower breeding success due to nest abandonment.
The recommendation comes as latest figures show 17 penguins are nesting and pairing-up as the year’s second breeding season in October nears.
Dr Colombelli-Negrel said she did not believe any fledgelings were produced in the first season earlier this year but were hopeful it would be another successful breeding season after 16 fledgelings were born last year — the most since records began in 1996.
“The chicks spend two years out at sea building up on fat, learning to be a penguin and deciding whether they want to come back ... so it’s too early to tell if those survived,” she said.
Granite Island’s penguin population suffered a drastic decline in 2002, dropping from 1500 to 800 birds but Dr Colombelli-Negrel said numbers had steadied since 2012.
“We have several measures in place to try and stop the decline, including continuous rat baiting,” she said.
Penneshaw Penguin Centre manager Nick Pike said he battled a similar perception there were no penguins on Kangaroo Island but Penneshaw’s colony of about 30 birds was stable.
“We’ve had about 12 (penguin) pairs show some early signs of nesting and six are already active which is quite good for this time of the year,” he said.
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