Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A little blue penguin entangled in a fishing line is a reminder that rubbish in the ocean and on beaches is a threat to marine life.

Date:  27 November 2018

Ranger Sam and penguin.
Biodiversity Ranger Sam Speight with the lucky penguin who was freed from a tangled fishing line
Image: DOC

DOC was alerted to the entangled penguin on a beach north of Hokitika late last week by a member of the public who called the DOC hotline. The penguin was freed and unharmed.

Hokitika Operations Manager Nicole Kunzmann says the presence of rubbish and marine debris is an increasing problem for New Zealand's wildlife.

“Seabirds and marine mammals become entangled in or ingest rubbish, often leading to injury or death. This penguin had a lucky escape because it was found. Others won’t be so fortunate.

“We all have a role to play to keep New Zealand’s natural environment free of litter. If you see fishing line or other plastic rubbish on our West Coast beaches, please help by picking it up and removing it. If you see a bird or marine mammal that is entangled in plastic rubbish, call the DOC hotline 0800 362 468.”

The little blue penguin is the world’s smallest penguin. An estimated 800-1000 are on the West Coast. They can be seen after dusk and just before dawn walking across the beach, between nests and the sea.

Little blue penguins are vulnerable to coastal development, predators, dogs, traffic and rubbish.


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