Fiordland Penguin and Franklins Gull

To: Tony Palliser <>, Birding-Aus Mail <>
Subject: Fiordland Penguin and Franklins Gull
From: (Richard Johnson)
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 14:02:39 +1000
Hi Tony and other penguin-fanciers

Tony has posted an intriguing message. I too had wondered what this 'moving' business was all about. I'm not saying that this is Tony's intent, but the posting  could be paraphrased by others as:
'...never mind about the bird's welfare, we birders want to tick it...'

It's probably a moot point whether catching (and stressing) the odd vagrant moulting penguin is doing anything for the conservation of the species - frankly, I think it is doing bugger all - but one assumes that the Vic Parks & Wildlife people are responding to a perceived problem. Perhaps some citizens concerned about the welfare of stranded penguins have raised the issue with them. If so, this is a legitimate point of view, even if its merit is arguable.

Concealing (or more accurately, not revealing) the whereabouts of a penguin so that  it is not removed by people with different but legitimate interests raises an important question. Are birders looking for a new tick entitled to put their interests above any other group's interests? An ethical dilemma, I'd say. Plenty of scope for debate and please, if we have one, let's keep it calm and non-abusive !


Tony Palliser wrote:

In the interests of bird safety I suspect our National Parks and Wildlife staff
(and other groups) have been told to move any moulting penguins into captivity
until they have finished their moult - this is to protect them from dogs and
cats etc - which is reasonable.

Sometimes though, they are (in my opinion) moved unnecessarily - causing
significant stress to the bird. In locations like this one (so I understand) the
bird is well out of harms way and despite a few onlooking birders it is better
off where it is.

More often than not you only hear about penguins in newspapers after the event
and it is particularly frustrating for people who want to go and have a look.  A
few years ago I witnessed 'officials' disturbing an Erect-crested Penguin
unnecessarily and was quite appalled to be honest - A rope was used to lower
themselves down to the bird.


Ken Tucker wrote:

> Sorry - coming from the N. Hemisphere I am unused to moulting penguins. Who
> would move it and why? To keep as a pet? To make into candles? I don't fully
> understand. Can anybody enlighten me?
> Thanks
> Ken
> > The Fiordland Penguin was still at the site near Port Fairy last night
> > (24/1) at 1900 hours. As Tony Palliser said, site details will not be
> > released over the net, for fear of the bird being moved.
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Richard Johnson
Roma District
Tel: (07) 4622 4266  Fax: (07) 46 22 4151

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