Little Penguin Rescue In Newcastle

Little Penguin Rescue In Newcastle

16 January 2021

Our Little Penguin was found late Wednesday evening looking quite forlorn and near the stairs at Cliff Beach, Merewether. When he did try to walk he was stumbling badly so a member of the public took him to AREC, Broadmeadow Vets.
Hope Genge then picked the Little Penguin up and brought it to me to care for. He was given anti-inflammatory drops and then x-rayed by Noahs Ark Vets the next day – luckily no breaks, just bad bruising and swelling so he was given the drops for another four days until the swelling had subsided. He fed very well on white-bait and pilchards. He appeared to have just finished moulting as there were a couple of loose plumes amongst it’s coat. He weighed just over a Kilo – normally they weigh 1,300 – 1,500 gms but while they are moulting over a period of 11-15 days they cannot feed because they are not waterproof and therefore lose weight.
He ate approximately 200 – 250 grams of fish each day. They can only be fed morning and evening as it takes a while for the fish to digest. If you try to influence them to eat more than that they will regurgitate it back and then often bring back the previous meal too.
Before his morning feed I put him into a little shell pool to have a wash and defecate, then I would feed him, I then put him in his container in dappled sunshine to preen himself for an hour or so.
Also, with penguins and other seabirds you do not give them a feed close to when you are transporting them anywhere as they will most likely regurgitate it all – they must be fed 4 – 5 hours before.
By Sunday evening the swelling had finally gone down and the penguin was standing on his leg comfortably and walking better. We kept him in care until Thursday afternoon when the weather was sunny and the water at Shoal Bay near Tomaree Point in Port Stephens Harbour was smooth. Jason Hodges and I took him out and Donna Hucker our Newsletter Editor came to take photos.
He swam off beautifully out into the Harbour heading towards Cabbage Tree Island & Broughton Island where they breed each year – it is the most northern extent of their breeding grounds along the Eastern coast. Note: we say ‘him’ in this article but we don’t really know if he is a she?
A threatened species of petrel – the Gould’s Petrel (Pterodroma leucoptera) also breed on Cabbage Tree Island – this is the only known place in the world for them to breed, so we are very lucky to have them in our region.

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