Abandoned blue penguins finally go home

NINE little blue penguins saved from certain death were released back into the wild last week, after being hand-fed for the past four months at Bicheno's Pademelonpark Wildlife Refuge.

The feathery friends were left for dead by their parents and rescued from a rookery on the East Coast town's coastline in January.

``Every year towards the end of the [breeding] season you get late chicks and the adult penguins go into a malt stage and lose their feathers, so they can't go into the water to find food to feed their babies _ so they abandon them,'' Bicheno Penguin Tours owner Nic Wardlaw said.

Refuge manager Geoff Preston fed the then juvenile penguins twice a day until they each reached one kilogram in weight and their feathers became water resistant.

``We fed them about 120 to 150 grams of fish a day each,'' Mr Preston said.

``The only hope they had was us because no one else was going to feed them and the release went perfectly, with no wind and the sea was flat.''

Mr Preston said Coastal Seafoods supplied all the fish, which Bicheno Penguin Tours paid for.

Mr Preston and his wife Vicki rely on donations to keep the park running and take care of injured animals and birds in the region.

Rehabilitated little blue penguins being released back into the ocean at Bicheno last week.

 Picture: GARY PRICE

Rehabilitated little blue penguins being released back into the ocean at Bicheno last week. Picture: GARY PRICE

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop