17 Aug 2017

Yellow-eyed penguin 'death march' protest

2:24 pm on 17 August 2017

Forest and Bird members dressed in yellow-eyed penguin suits have held a creative protest down the main street of Balclutha in South Otago.

A yellow eyed penguin 'Death March' was held in Balclutha by Forest and Bird members in penguin suits.

A yellow eyed penguin 'Death March' was held in Balclutha by Forest and Bird members in penguin suits. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

The group of eight people acted out a penguin death march, played funeral music and held placards saying 'our penguins are starving'.

Yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho)

In 2000, the population was estimated at 6000 to 7000 mature individuals. Photo: Thomas Mattern

Yellow-eyed penguin numbers have declined steeply in recent years to an estimated 266 breeding pairs on the South Island coast.

There are fears the birds could become extinct from mainland New Zealand within 25 years.

One of the protesters, Roy Johnstone, said the government was not listening or doing enough.

Mr Johnstone said the penguins were very dear to the Catlins coastal area and its people were doing the best they could help the penguins on land.

But fishing was making the birds' food source more scarce and a proposed marine reserve was vital to saving them.

A yellow eyed penguin 'Death March' was held in Balclutha by Forest and Bird members in penguin suits.

Protesters say the penguins' food source is being fished out. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

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