Petition is successful with 1,371 signatures
To: Timaru District Council
Protect Timaru's Penguins
'Power of the people prompts Timaru penguin protection turn around' https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/101804193/power-of-the-people-prompts-timaru-penguin-protection-turn-around
We call on you to protect Timaru's little blue penguins by reconsidering your plan to change local bylaws to allow dogs at Caroline Bay between 5am - 9am in summer.
We ask that you continue the no dogs on Caroline Bay policy during the summer months and push the period during which they are not allowed back to the 1st of August.
Why is this important?
There is an abundance of dedicated spaces for dogs to exercise in the Timaru district (http://bit.ly/2z3PD4N). The little blue penguins (kororā) that nest at Caroline Bay, however, do not have such luxuries.
We are exceptionally lucky to have a breeding colony of endangered penguins (kororā) so close to our town centre. After a short drive or walk, we can watch them come ashore — undeterred by traffic and noise from the port just metres away.
Research shows that dogs pose the biggest threat to little blue penguins (kororā) across New Zealand (http://bit.ly/2z0ou2n). They are vulnerable when they walk from their nests to the ocean in the morning before the sun rises, and again when they come in to feed their chicks at night.
During the day, chicks are left behind in the burrows where they are vulnerable to dogs, which follow their natural instincts to sniff out the strong smelling birds.
In summer when this change would take effect, the earliest sunrise is 5:44am and the latest is 7:50am. If Timaru District Council allows dogs on the beach during the proposed times of 5am - 9am (as announced by Councillor Sally Parker on her Facebook page) this allows a full 2 hours and 50 minutes during which there is an increased chance that a penguin could be attacked or killed by a dog being walked on the beach.
August through until March are the most important months for little blue penguins (kororā) to mate, lay their eggs, raise their chicks, and come ashore to moult. The loss of one or both parents means the chick will not survive, so protecting them during the full breeding season is critical.
Even if you’re cynical about the intrinsic value of nature, the penguins are an increasingly important part of our local economy. Compared with other towns in the region, Timaru has relatively few tourist attractions. We know the penguins can have up to 100 visitors in a night. Some people visit specifically to see them and contribute significantly to the local economy by staying in hotels, eating out, and contributing to local businesses. You only need to look at Oamaru’s success to see their potential to open a new avenue for tourism in the region.
If you have not done so recently, we strongly encourage you to visit Caroline Bay one evening to watch the penguins come in. You will see how special these birds are and quickly learn that people from Timaru and beyond are exceptionally proud to have them breeding in the bay.