Monday, March 3, 2008

Penguins facing a rocky road to survive in NZ

Roadkill has been identified as a contributor to the declining populations of blue penguins in some parts of New Zealand.

A study recently published in the New Zealand Journal of Zoology on the breeding success of the blue penguins on the west coast of the South Island identified roadkill as a significant threat to the population.

The study said the total population of blue penguins on the West Coast was thought to be in the hundreds rather than the thousands, and many residents believed the decline began a decade ago or longer.

"Each road-killed penguin might be incubating up to two eggs or rearing up to two chicks at the time of death."

Since both parents were required to rear the chicks, the death of one penguin on the road could remove up to three more individuals from the population.

The study said steps should be taken to identify the most hazardous road crossing points and to raise public awareness.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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