15 Jul 2009

Blue penguins hit by cars on coastal Wellington roads

12:41 pm on 15 July 2009

Drivers are being urged to slow down on coastal Wellington roads because of deaths among the blue penguin population.

About 600 nesting pairs of blue penguins exist and while the species is not endangered, it is in decline.

The Department of Conservation says three of the penguins, the smallest in the world, were hit by motorists last weekend.

Jennifer Lynch of the Forest and Bird Society says each death has wider repercussions on the population, as if the adult bird gets killed on the road in the breeding season, their eggs will not be incubated or their chicks will die.

Ms Lynch says the key times for drivers to take care is at dawn and dusk when the penguins cross roads between the sea and their burrows.