Two men were arrested after allegedly attempting to steal a little penguin and eggs from a rookery at Low Head.
Members of the public stepped in when the two men allegedly placed the live animal in the boot of a car on Sunday afternoon.
When George Town police and members of the Northern Marine Services arrived, they searched a car and found two penguin eggs in the boot.
The 30-year-old Prospect man and 21-year-old Newnham man were expected to be charged with taking specially protected wildlife and taking products of specially protected wildlife.
They will also face charges of interfering with the nest, breeding place or habitation of any form of wildlife.
Launceston Inspector Darren Hopkins said the eggs had been handed over to local wildlife experts.
"This was a joint operation in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife Service and Tasmania Police," he said.
"Tasmania Police is keen to hear from any other witnesses to the incident and from anyone who might have phone or dashcam footage of the men taking the bird and eggs."
It was understood the penguin escaped, and returned to the rookery.
Information can be provided by calling Tasmania Police on 131 444.