Since the early 1900s, nine out of ten little penguin colonies on Phillip Island have become extinct - in large part due to habitat loss and the devastation caused by introduced predators such as foxes. The Penguin Foundation funds environmental protection programs carried out by rangers from Phillip Island Nature Parks to eradicate foxes from Phillip Island and rehabilitate disturbed penguin habitat back to a natural state.
If you would like to support these conservation programs you may consider making a donation.
Fox Free Phillip Island
Thanks to assistance from donors, sponsors and grants including from the Ian Potter Foundation, Phillip Island was declared fox-free in 2017 after over 25 years of dedicated efforts to remove them.
One fox can kill up to 30 penguins in one night. Foxes were introduced to Phillip Island in the early 1900s and numbers peaked at 200 foxes in the early 1980s. These high fox numbers posed a significant threat to the last remaining little penguin colony on the Summerland Peninsula as well as other native wildlife across the island.
The Foundation contributed to the Fox Free Phillip Island program by funding the employment of a full-time Fox Manager, as well as supporting specialised fox detection dogs Jazz and Sam and funding the purchase of night vision equipment to detect foxes.
In 2014 the program received $192,500 from the Ian Potter Foundation to intensify efforts and work to remove the final estimated 5 foxes from the island. Phillip Island is now the largest island from which introduced red foxes have been removed.
|Phillip Island's last remaining little penguin colony on the Summerland Peninsula has undergone significant changes in the last 150 years. European settlement brought with it grazing and farming which dramatically altered the landscape. In the 1920s Summerland Peninsula was subdivided and 175 houses were built in the penguin colony across several decades. Land clearing, fire, domestic pets and traffic put significant pressure on the little penguins and dramatically altered the landscape.|
In the 1980s the State Government initiated a land buyback scheme and all houses and infrastructure were removed by 2011. The land is now being returned to the little penguins through extensive revegetation partially supported by funding through the Penguin Foundation.
|Housing being removed from Summerland Estate||Revegetated Summerland Peninsula today|