The Penguin Foundation and the Phillip Island Nature Parks conservation teams are delighted to share the news of a recent record breaking night at the Penguin Parade on Millowl (Phillip Island). The colony of approximately 40,000 little penguins has broken records, with 5219 little penguins crossing the beach in one memorable May evening; notably, this is outside the traditional breeding period of spring and summer. The huge penguin numbers aren't just luck, they are due to the excellent habitat management of the research scientists and Phillip Island Nature Parks conservation teams. Efforts to ensure that Phillip Island is fox free, extensive weed removal and revegetation works, and ongoing efforts maintaining dune access are just some of the ways that the Nature Parks team has helped the little penguins to thrive.
But why are we seeing peaks now? It might be that the prolonged La Nina event that we are seeing is bringing penguin food close to shore, and together with the Autumn breeding attempt that is currently occurring, a lot of penguins are doing single day trips and then returning to their burrows. Usually when they're not breeding in the winter, little penguins may spend up to a month out at sea.
Phillip Island Nature Parks Research Officer, Paula Wasiak said the record had been broken several times in recent weeks.
"We had the highest number of penguins cross last week with 5,219 penguins crossing our Penguin Parade beach within the 50 minutes of the count, which is amazing. The previous record only happened a few days before and that was just over 4,500 penguins".
Some interesting facts:
* 9 out of 10 highest ever April Parade counts have occurred in April 2022
* 3 out of 10 highest counts ever have occurred this April and May - the 7 others all occurred during the peak of breeding in November or December.
Our sincere thanks also goes to donors and partners of the Penguin Foundation who have contributed significantly to ongoing rehabilitation, habitat restoration and maintenance, plus various projects and scientific research studies to benefit the little penguin colony.
Please click here to adopt a little penguin and to see these record breaking numbers keep climbing. Your donation will help to protect Phillip Island's native wildlife and enhance the natural environment through research, conservation and education programs now and into the future.
Learn more in related media coverage from ABC news.