Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fears for St Kilda penguin colony

The Port of Melbourne Corporation's plan to monitor Phillip Island penguins rather than a colony at St Kilda, which is closer to bay dredging work, has outraged environmentalists.

Earthcare St Kilda, a voluntary group that has monitored the St Kilda penguins for 20 years, said the port authority was trying to hide any negative effects from the public.

It believes the St Kilda colony of 1200 penguins is most at risk from the dredging because its primary food source, anchovy, is likely to be decimated by work scheduled for the Yarra River mouth at the time they usually spawn.

"It may not wipe out the whole lot but it will take a long time for the colony to recover," Earthcare's co-ordinator of penguin research, Zoe Hogg, said.

Plumes from the dredging would force the penguins to forage further for food, which increased the risk of chicks starving to death in their nests, the group says.

Source: The Age

Photo: St. Kilda Penguins


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