Little Little Penguin Census

The little fluffy penguin, which has been under siege for the past decade on Granite Island, Australia may have a future after all. The Little Penguin census on Granite Island was completed last month and it was found that there were 16 burrows containing 32 penguins. In 2013 there was evidence of 38 penguins, 2012 – 26 penguins and in 2011 – 102 penguins.w1200_h678_fmax

The Natural Resources Management Board (NRM) fund Flinders University to conduct the census and penguin ecologist Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel said it is the second year the university has undergone the census. “The little penguin numbers seem to have stabilized since 2012,” Dr Colombelli-Negrel said. “Granite Island has greatly improved with the breeding success in 2013 being 1.5 (calculated as number of penguin chicks that fledged per breeding pair), which was the highest in the SA populations monitored. “However further monitoring is necessary to assess if this is a long-term trend.” What was most pleasing for Dr Colombelli-Negrel is the management and control of rats on the island. “Since 2006 we have done a lot of management to control the rats and our findings show there is no rat predation at all on the island now,” she said.

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